Monday, August 29, 2022

Impetvs and the Joy of Hex

Having enjoyed the series of Samurai Battles scenarios using Basic Impetvs on a grid and 15mm figures, I wanted to expand this combination to include my many 28mm collections based for Impetvs.  Given that the hexes used in the 15mm Samurai games were four inches and too small for my 120mm 28mm BMU frontages, I needed a new plan.  That plan was to build hex tiles that were five inches.  Well, I finally got around to making that plan a reality this weekend.

Hex tile piles ready for deployment.
130 wooden hexes were painted, textured, and topped off with a clear matte sealer to create a 13 x 10 hex grid.  Large enough for a reasonably sized battle but not too large to prevent the remote webcam from covering the entire battlefield.  This layout can also be utilized for Commands & Colors if I so choose.     
130 hex tile grid laid out on table.
To kill two birds with one stone (showing the hex tiles in action and parading the Sumerians), I demonstrate the results with the Sumerian collection.  My hunch was correct on collection size.  Sufficient forces have mustered out to field two almost identical Sumerian armies.  Looks like I could use more massed archers.  The armies are a mix of Newline Designs and Wargames Foundry.  Now I need to put in place modifications for my variant on BI2.0 for Sumerian battles.

These armies and new hex tiles will get their Baptism of Fire in a Thursday F2F match.  If this proves a success then all of my Impetvs-based collections may see action on a grid.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Sumerian Battle Car(t)

With good cycling weather, many good games, and various other summertime distractions, activity at the painting desk has been slow over the summer.  Having cleared the gaming table of the five-game stand of Bassignana, my expectation is that I may find time to return to the workbench for a few meaningful painting sessions in the weeks ahead.  With upcoming travel and scheduled visitors, those expectations may come up short but we will see what can be dragged across the painting table before summer comes to an end.
First out of the chute in this return to painting during the Dog Days of summer is a Sumerian battle cart and entourage.  Figures are 28mm Newline Designs.

Several other projects are seeing activity at the painting desk including more SYW French infantry, ECW cavalry, and even a few more Sumerians.  Perhaps the ECW infantry that I decided to paint rather than purge will make it into the painting queue.

Having completed today's battle cart, I reckon there may be enough figures and BMUs to field two Sumerian armies.  Perhaps a game could be on the horizon to allow these figures their first taste of battle?  With the gaming table devoid of troops, I think pulling the collection from storage boxes to assess what exactly I do have and offer up a parade sounds reasonable.  There still may be a few units needed to field a pair of armies but maybe not?

Good cycling weather (in the coolish mornings at least) helps mileage continue to accrue in the legs.  August will likely tally 650 miles.  For now, I leave out tales of recent near misses with vehicles and focus on the serenity of the Palouse.  Following are a few snapshots from cycling out on Wednesday morning.  The grain and hay are ready for harvest. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Strike the Tent at Bassignana

After planning, painting, plotting, and playing, it is time to strike the tent at Bassignana.  Time to bid adieu to what has become a friendly and familiar sight on the gaming table.  After five battle recreations, the ground will stick in mind for a very long time.

The Battle of Bassignana was one of the catalysts for building a SYW French Army.  That building task began at the start of 2022.  Enough French (and French dressed as Spanish) were painted to muster troops to complete the OB.

Before clearing the table in preparation for a new battle, I pause to give an account of the fifth and final (for now) battle.

In Game #5, Chris (Horse and Musket Gaming) accepts the role of King Emanuele III to take command of the Piedmontese/Austrian armies.  David (Not by Appointment) and Mike (Dieroll Volleys) take command of the French and Spanish contingents.

With the four-game score showing three victories for the Franco-Spanish to one victory for the Piedmontese/Austrians, can Chris overcome a difficult situation in an attempt to pull closer to the Franco-Spanish lead?  Let's see.

Franco-Spanish deployed for crossing the Tanaro River.
The Franco-Spanish army is poised along the Tanaro River with a goal of cutting King Emanuele's line of retreat to the west.  King Emanuele III is positioned along the north bank of the Tanaro in an effort to hold out until reinforcements arrive.  For a chance of Austrian reinforcements, the Piedmontese must hold the pontoon bridge across the Po River to the north of Bassignana.  Holding Bassignana may be critical.  On the King's right flank, his position is anchored by the strongpoints of Chiesa de San Germano and Montecastelle.  Holding these strongpoints falls to his best brigade, D'Aix.   

D'Aix holds the Piedmontese right.

Arambou moves up while taking fire from Rivarone.

As Maillebois' Franco-Spanish army begins the crossing of the shallow Tanaro, Arambou's lead infantry battalions take fire from the guns at Rivarone.  Arambou opens up with his light guns to cover the advance.

With Arambou set on forcing a crossing at the river bend, de la Chiesa sends an infantry battalion from Rivarone to contest the crossing.  Moving into position on the north bank, de la Chiesa's infantry battalion takes fire from both guns and muskets.  The Piedmontese suffer but remain firm. 

As the crossing begins, the Spanish commanders array their infantry in battalions three deep.  Can anything stop this Spanish juggernaut?   

Arambou begins the river crossing.
Arambou and de Gages mass their infantry.
Back on the French left, Maillebois orders de Grammont and Senneterre's cavalry to swing around the left flank.  With Liguane's Piedmontese dragoons awaiting orders, Piedmontese light infantry pop up along the banks of the river to contest any possible French cavalry crossing.  The Piedmontese Guards, quiet on the heights until now, begin the descent down to the river.  They too will contest the crossing. 
As French cavalry approach,
the Piedmontese defense stiffens. 
Taking casualties at the hands of the light infantry, de Grammont's cavalry splash across the Tanaro.  Piedmontese grenadiers, overlooking the river at San Germano, pour deadly volleys into de Grammont's infantry.  To the grenadier's left, the Guards contribute to the destruction at the river's edge.  Having drawn up too close to the Tanaro and the approaching French, Liguane's dragoons find themselves the target of French musketry.  Suffering from these volleys, the Piedmontese dragoons prudently withdraw out of harms' way.
Firefight erupts near Chiesa de San Germano
as Liguane's dragoons are forced to withdraw.
Piedmontese Guard join the firefight.
Battle along the Tanaro.
Not dissuaded by the light infantry's harassing fire, de Grammont's cavalry charges across the river scattering the light troops.  Senneterre brings his cavalry up to the left of de Grammont in support.  Forced to retire from earlier musketry, for now, Liguane's Piedmontese dragoons remain motionless overlooking the combat at the river. 
Light infantry dispersed by cavalry.
Returning to the developing action in the center near Rivarone, Arambou's Brigade remains in a heated exchange wiith de la Chiesa at the river as the Spanish attempt to force a crossing at the bend in the river.  Casualties rise as infantry and gun lines blast away at each other.  The Piedmontese regulars first waver and then melt away under the pressure from Arambou's attack.  De Gages sends two of his infantry battalions across the Tanaro in support of Arambou's success while his cavalry ford the river to the right of the bridge skirting the treeline.
Casualties rise in Arambou's firefight.
de Gages follows up on the
destruction of Piedmontese infantry.
de Gages advances across the Tanaro.
Seeing de la Chiesa's regulars disintegrate to his front, de Gages' supporting attack toward Rivarone presses on as Spanish light infantry cross the Tanaro and harass de la Chiesa's artillery.  The momentum from this attack carries the Spanish into the Piedmontese guns.  The battery is overrun.
Pressure mounts upon the Rivarone salient.
After a sustained bombardment of Rivarone from de Montal's heavy battery that sees heavy casualties among the defending militia, de Montal launches his assault.  As the French infantry approach in serried ranks, the already wavering militia take to flight.  Rivarone falls without much of a fight!
Rivarone falls as de Gages' cavalry
 moves to encircle Bassignana.
With Rivarone cleared of enemy troops and de la Chiesa's brigade broken, Maillebois' French and Spanish advance.  The Spanish light infantry, having aided in drivng off the guns at Rivarone, turn their attention to D'Aix's artillery near Montecastelle.  Taking harassing fire and seeing Rivarone fall, the guns limber up and move off.  French and Spanish infantry scale the heights up onto the lightly wooded plateau.  Reaching the crest, no enemy can be seen.  Is the battle won? 
Overview of battlefield situation
as the Piedmontese center falters.
As French and Spanish infantry climb the heights,
 D'Aix's artillery is driven off. 
Having assisted in seeing off D'Aix's artillery, Spanish light infantry press on against Montecastelle.  The Montecastelle defenders shrug off the light harassing fire and concentrate their volleys into the French lined up along the Tanaro.
Spanish light infantry harass Montecastelle.
To the west of Montecastelle, the Piedmontese grenadiers leave the cover of San Germano and advance down to the Tanaro to take up position alongside the Guard.  Volleys intensify as the French infantry arrayed along the south bank of the river take heavy casualties.  De Grammont's infantry show signs of wavering.  Seeing both Senneterre and de Grammont's cavalry breach the Tanaro. Liguane seeks higher ground to counter French superior numbers.
Firefight on the Tanaro below San Germano.
Back on the Bassignana front, having cleared the central heights of enemy, de Gages turns his attention toward the fortified town, itself.  With Spanish infantry marching across the high ground, the Piedmontese King orders his cavalry to retire.  Not only is the Piedmontese cavalry retiring to stay away from the enemy but it is positioning itself to block Spanish cavalry attempts against the pontoon bridge over the Po. 

This foresight by the King is especailly timely since Schulenburg's Austrian infantry are seen marching across the pontoon bridge.  To buy the Austrians time, the King leads charges at the enemy cavalry.  In a series of charges and countercharges, the cavalry clashes see heavy damage to all.  De Gages goes down in the melee!

With Spanish pressing in on Bassignana, the King's actions have momentarily prevented de Gage from capturing the bridge.  As Austrian infantry deploy on the south bank of the Po, Austrian cavalry trot across the temporary bridge.  

Has the battle turned?  
De Gages' Spanish converge upon Bassignana.
King Emanuele blocks the avenue toward the Po bridge.
De Gages falls in melee.
The Austrians arrive but is it in time?
Even with the arrival of Schulenburg, the situation looks bleak for the King.  While his grenadiers and guard continue to hold the upper hand in the firefight at San Germano, his army has been split.  The enemy is in full control of the central heights and advancing toward the Po.  With Liguane bottled up on the high ground behind San Germano, French cavalry have a clear path to cutting the road to the west.  The weakened defenders of Bassignana will not hold out long against overwhelming odds.  The King accepts his predicament and rides across the Po bridge while Schulenburg and his Austrians cover his escape. 
Piedmontese grenadiers take lumps out of the French
 as French cavalry are poised upon a flank.
Firefight across the Tanaro.
Maillebois controls the central position
and pushes on toward the Po.
After four hours of play, King Emanuele III concedes the field to the Franco-Spanish army.  Following this hard-fought battle, Maillebois has done enough to win a Minor Victory.  

Congratulations to the winning generals, David and Mike!  Chapeau to Chris for providing an entertaining and spirited defense.  Well-played by all!

Having completed seven turns with only eight turns guaranteed, Chris believed that Bassignana would not be relieved in time by a Schulenburg counterattack.  In addition to this immediate reckoning, in an extended battle, the Austrians, alone, would be unable to stem the tide of the oncoming French and Spanish as they descended upon the pontoon bridge.

While another victory for the Franco-Spanish army (4-1 in this five game series), another historical result was seen on the miniature battlefield.

Thanks again to all of the players for producing another enjoyable gaming session.  For me, this was great fun exploring the Battle of Bassignana in repeated trials on the table with an entertaining assortment of generals and approaches.

After a long engagement on the table, time to strike the tent at Bassignana.

What is next?  Who knows?  Clearing the table and back to painting for starters.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Bassignana, Again

Having led the Piedmontese and Austrian armies to ignominious defeat last week to Matt (see There Was Such Great Promise) including the loss of King Emanuele III, I took to the field again.  This time, my Piedmontese/Austrian army would face Peter (see A Remote Wargame - Battle of Bassignana) on the fields of Bassignana.

Would I meet the same fate?

As a reminder, army dispositions and battlefield are illustrated in the photo below: 

Initial dispositions
Could I correct for the mistakes made in the previous battle?  Could I change my approach to the defense of Bassignana faced with seemingly overwhelming odds?

In all previous battles, the Piedmontese positions as Chiesa de San Germano and Montecastelle stood firm.  No French attacks could dislodge the defenders.  With little progess by the French against these fortified positions, I figured them to be relatively secure. So secure, in fact, that the defenders tore great swaths out of the French as they attacked up hill.  Unfortunately, there was no reserve at hand with which to capitalize on this success.  

The dragoons, under Liguane, maneuvered in my game with Matt to always be nowhere rather than somewhere.  They were marched along the road to the north in support of Bassignana.  Liguane never reached Bassignana before the battle was decided.  This time, Liguane would maintain his position on the right flank to take advantage of any opportunities that might arise.  

De la Chiesa's position at Rivarone looked too exposed to me.  As a salient, he may have slowed the attacks but his position and his brigade were eventually overrun.  I needed to try a different approach here.

Let's see if any of this worked against my Australian opponent.

Defenders of Montecastelle.
The defenders face tough odds. 
D'Aix' elites hold the Piedmontese right. 
The defenders of Rivarone at the ready.
Note: Red discs denote On Reserve.
de Gage's Spanish
Maillebois' French
de Gage's Spanish begin the crossing
as Arambou intends to cross the Tanaro
at the bend heading toward Rivarone.
De la Chiesa's brigade abandons Rivarone
 taking up position on the heights.  
Following a very successful bombardment of Montecastelle
 by de Montal's heavy battery, Senneterre attacks!
The Piedmontese defenders disperse.
Montecastelle falls!
To Senneterre's left, de Grammont splashes
 across the Tanaro.
He is met by Liguane's dragoons.
The Spanish cross the Tanaro River
and meet light resistance.
With Montecastelle in French hands and Rivarone empty,
 de Montal advances upon Rivarone.
Seeing Rivarone occupied by the French,
Arambou attacks the enemy on the heights. 
De Montal pushes through Rivarone and
 attacks the militia above the village
while Arambou pushes the enemy infantry
 back in a powerful attack. 
Having driven off D'Aix's guns to the east of Montecastelle,
 Senneterre turns attention against the Piedmontese Guard.
In support, de Grammont's infantry form up
and pour volleys in the church at San Germano.
Note: de Grammont has driven off Liguane's Dragoons.
While the firefight continues at Montecastelle,
Senneterre's cavalry overrun the guns
before they could deploy. 
De Gage with support from Arambou,
 begins his attack on Bassignana. 
Both sides suffer heavy casualties.
Arambou clears the heigths of enemy.
De la Chiesa' Brigade breaks.
King Emanuele III just manages to escape.
With the heights in enemy hands and his army split,
 King Emanuele III plots his escape.
Battle lines at end.
Faced with setbacks all across the battlefield, King Emanuele III sees the handwriting on the wall.  He orders the remants of his army to disengage and retire across the Po.  Hopefully, to safety!

When play stopped, the Franco-Spanish had not yet broken the Piedmontese army or taken all of the objectives to score a Major Victory.  Nevertheless, with all of the independent Piedmontese units destroyed, de la Chiesa's Brigade broken, and D'Aix's Brigade teetering on the edge, the result is without doubt.  Austrian cavalry were only now beginning to appear on the banks of the Po.  Their arrival would be too late.

Major Victory scored by Peter and his Franco-Spanish army.  Congratulations and well done!  The historical outcome is reaffirmed again in another fun and challenging contest. 

Game time:  About three hours.

Time to sit down and ponder a retrospective on my crushing defeat.  Sigh.