Wednesday, July 20, 2011

KITES of the Garden ...

My sons got a little note from Jeff about making little wooden toy planes.

Well my eldest took off on the project and made 18 of them!

They got painted red yellow and green.

The boys then tumbled into a little simulated 'dog fight'. With a bit of help from dad a fast play tabletop game got going.

It lasted a few afternoons, now the yellow squadrons are a bit worse for wear and a few of the red planes are in disrepair. Fast tough fun for little boys.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

GARDEN WARS JULY 2011 part 2

So the battle that was interrupted when the French were advancing towards the Russian lines was finished a few days later.

The command of Murat continued a steady coordinated advance (I know breakneck was more his style ... and I was really the one in command).

The foot now took on the great job of winning the field of battle, here we see what was to become the leading division (mostly garbed in greatcoats).

Meanwhile the Dragoons were given new orders ... race round the left flank and push forward towards the Russian center.

The remaining lines held fast and another column of infantry started pushing forward up behind the Dragoons.

The Russians were not standing still, two formations of Infantry were rushing forward to plug the gap in the space between the Russian Dragoons and the HQ.

Here we see the lines of French Allied Infantry looking towards the Russian Dragoons and forming lines of Russian Infantry.

The whole battle zone now seen looking reverse angle (up sun). The reclining player took over the Russian Dragoons and Cossacks.

The forward French line had formed square alongside the now captured Russian Grenadier Horse gun!

The new French forward positions were a threat that the Russians could no longer permit to form, orders were given to drive the Dragoons into the French lines. Unfortunately for the Russians the French Chasseurs were close enough to counter their charge and engage them, this protected the advancing Infantry columns and permitted them time to set up their gun lines.

These Chassuers a Cheval drove back the Russian Dragoons and held fast while taking shot after shot from the Horse battery on the other side of the lake.

The French Dragoons had reached their deployment zone, just in time to break up the Russian Infantry they were forcing Russians into squares and standing still while the horse artillery chopped the squares into pieces!

While the Russian Infantry was holding ground the French columns were pressing forward, particularly on the French left wing, where now they had passed the line of the river and lake.

The French Allied force was now the distant second line.

While the forward line manned the captured Russian guns and delivered even more damage to the Russian squares. In the distance of this image you can see the tall grass that was let 'grow' to simulate forested areas.

The Cossacks charged, they were cut to pieces by successive counter charges from the Chasseurs and Hussars.

The Russian Dragoon force pushed ahead and charged again, this time only leaving behind their horse artillery that quickly fled the field after the fleeing horsemen.

The Russian lines were now cut off from their HQ and even their rear was blocked by marauding French Dragoons (seen here behind the French lines). The French Dragoons target was the last of the Cossacks still in shaken morale after the punishment meted out by the Chasseurs a Cheval.

Even after all this carnage my eldest son was still happy to have played the afternoon out with me.

His massed gun line was not brought into use, though he was certain that the 'big gun' power would have repulsed all comers.

The final scene of the field was the Russians in total retreat before a victorious French with plenty of strength to maintain a vigorous pursuit!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sword and Flame

A little bit of fun at Jeff's on last Sunday.

A reverse from the last game, last time my son and his friend put in an appearance as the red coats facing myself and Jeff as the Pushtu warriors. So now I was commanding a relief column and the young boys did the job as the Pushtu.

Things did not go well from he start for the boys. Their first locations were just out of Jezail or rifle range, then worse, my fast moving column (I rolled 1 pip under maximum for movement three times in the first two turns) had caught one Jezail force flat footed and was (seen in the image here) first blasting them then charged from both sides at once. It was a massacre until 25% of the force was left with no officers and they surrendered.

Meanwhile back at the fort, Pete our other campaign player now able to take part, was holding off the hand weapon armed mobs pretty well, then all three of them came at once, it was a bloodbath. With the Indian Sepoy troops taking the worst of it, the 78th held their ground till the very end when they ran out to scatter the last of the attackers.

End of the day the relief column lost 1 dead, 7 wounded including one officer.

Victory for the old men this time again...

Saturday, July 09, 2011


My eldest had so much fun as the attacking French force last time that he decided to have a go at the slower defensive battle from the Russian side.

We re-set all the troops to the same organizations as last time. The difference this time was the use of an idea I saw from Too Fat Lardies in their Le Feu Sacre rules. The formations of troops would be 'represented' by boards that I have, with an ID tag on them that only the player controlling knows what is really standing in the location. Then once the forces get within 1.5 times the artillery range then the minis get put out in the correct formation.

So now neither of us had this data when we started, you, dear reader will get the info about what troops started where...

This time round I commanded the French from Murat's Headquarters the plan looked great ... now if only the Russians would go slowly as they usually did.

The French led with Dragoons that raced ahead of the infantry columns and setup their horse battery just in range of the Russian lead formation that turned out to be composed of the Grenadiers!

Out gunned at 2-1 the French horse battery was soon losing gunners ...

A short advance by the French dragoons showed that there were more Russian dragoons and cossacks in a line behind the town and covering the lake area.

Thankfully, for the French, there were heavy formations of Infantry with foot batteries coming with them.

The next period was marked by artillery exchanges with the French gunners coming out on the bad end of the deal, while some damage was delivered to the Russian Grenadier Horsemen, then into the foot.

Still more French infantry formed into line with the allied formations.

The Russians continued to deliver damage and drew forward the French Hussars who prevailed over the Russian Horse Grenadiers, admittedly they had been badly shot up by the now active French batteries.

Those Hussars that had strayed too close to the lake now were targets of the Russian dragoons horse batteries.

Thunder from the flank came in the form of French chasseur squadrons. Now the Russian Grenadier formation was under pressure on three sides.

The French poured fire into the Russian grenadiers with two horse and two foot batteries, now in good range with the infantry to support the gun line.

Waiting behind these French lines were dragoons looking for an opening to exploit.

Similarly the Russian dragoons and Cossack formations waited for the opening to charge home ...

It was at this moment that the Russian grenadiers could no longer hold against the pounding they were taking from the French gunners. One battery was out of action from lack of crew when they lost both a Horse and foot formation, leaving only 25% of the division remaining. Those foot grenadiers fled the field abandoning the remaining horse battery...

Thus at 'halftime' (we had to pack up for the day so that dinner could be made in time to go out to a show) the forces were arranged thus ... with the French leading 4 to the Russian score of 0.

My eldest son still thought he could overcome the positions so we recorded everything and prepared to go again when weather and time permitted.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Garden Wars rematch

Round one of a rematch of the French and Russian Corps engagement has been done.

Alex liked it so much that he wanted to finish the match, even though the French were leading 4-0 in battalion/squadron kills and the ones that were killed or chased away were the Russian grenadier foo and horse units.

So I can only report a Tactical French lead from the engagement so far and leave you with the little detail of the abandoned Russian Grenadier artillery ... well within range of the French Dragoons or even a horse gun crew to rush in and bring the battery into action!

Sunday, July 03, 2011


On 17 June, my eldest and I set out a match between a Russian and French force.

Both were of considerable size and composition.

The Russians included Cossacks and Siege Artillery, while the French boasted large Dragoon and Hussar forces. Both had a grenadier contingent.

This time round we decided to use the entire back yard, the French deployment area included a forward moving pursuit force on the road leading to the Russian center left. My youngest boy was going to 'help' me with the Russian command.

The French, run by my eldest son, chose to place some of their allied infantry in their left flank to press into an opening between two wooded areas.

Russian Grenadiers (simulated by these Pavlov Grenadiers) were placed well back from the main Russian lines ready to take advantage of the road to plunge into the left center should the French choose to press hard.

More towards the center rear of the Russian position were some Hussars, ready again to respond where needed.

Giving an overview of the Russian positions as seen from the left wing here:

a view of the some of the Russian Light Dragoons, looking towards my young opponent commander...

Once into action the French send forward their elite Dragoons formations, racing down the road into the Russian center left and the church steeple town.

Meanwhile on the French left columns of infantry pushed up the low rise and towards to opening between two forest sections seeking to penetrate the Russian line.

The gap was close to the Russian lines and the move was not unanticipated, the number of French troops was a concern as to whether the single Russian division could hold back two French ones. So orders were dispatched to the light Dragoons to fill in the extreme left of the woods gap.

French allied Infantry pressed on to face down the advancing Russians, making three infantry columns moving into the French side of the woods gap.

The Light Dragoons were faster and used a first charge to halt and rout one column of French Infantry.

Meanwhile along the road into the Russian town, the Cavalry melee had begun. First some of the French Grenadier Horse was pounded by the Russian guns, they ended up seeking the shelter of the buildings to get their horses re-organized. Then the second column of French Dragoons arrived and were met by Russian Dragoons, it was a huge tangle brawl of charges and counter-charges that followed...

Russian command chose to send in Russian Hussars to ensure that the French did not break through the town sector.

This was because the Russian Grenadiers had been ordered to move forward and they were vulnerable, should the French horse break out...

Still solid in the center of the Russian positions were the siege and foot batteries of the artillery park, seen here with covering foot battalions.

The confused cavalry melees in the town sector sorted out, the French simply did not have enough reserves to maintain their early momentum. The Russian Hussars arrived to find that the opponents were gone...

French High Command moved forward to maintain contact with the forward deployed columns. No reserves were left to throw into the action now as the light cavalry Chasseurs a Cheval were now committed to the woods gap, a breakthrough there could yet win the day.

Now the battle for victory could be tested. The French had lost a lot of cavalry, while the Russians did loose some, they were not as taxed. The French needed to gain the woods gap to secure the ground before nightfall. Else the next day could see their flank turned and no where for the Grenadiers to go but back ...

With the Hussars, Chasseurs and light cavalry division going into the forest gap, this was the moment of truth!

As the light of the day was fading the Russian line infantry was up to the task!

They fired on the bloodied Chasseur a Cheval, then on more Hussars that had just scattered the light Dragoons ...

Over on the Russian left center the Russian cavalry was now consolidating their gains while staying out of French artillery range.

The French Grenadier Division had set up formations and was pouring out artillery fire ... enough to keep the Russians back.

The light from the day was fading as the Russian Grenadiers were pushing forward from the town along the road. With the French light cavalry division routed back to the start lines there was no doubt that this day of battle was a tactical Russian victory!