Monday, September 30, 2013

Swedish strike-out: Campaign of Nations battle

A battle after action report (AAR) for the Campaign of Nations.

Fieldmarshal Graf Stedingk & staff
Fieldmarshal Graf Stedingk chose not to permit a small French cavalry brigade to continue to linger around the flanks of his army and harass his supply and communications lines.  He sent out all of the Swedish cavalry division to at least chase them off, if not crush them utterly ...

 The map was laid out using pickup game rules for SHAKO and gamed out thus.

Stedingk chose to deploy the heavy cavalry back with a flank force of Hussars to strike after turn 3
Facing the Swedes were battle-hardened Polish Lancers and Chasseur a Cheval of the 30th Light Cavalry Brigade.

Chasseurs and Lancers
The Lifeguard Dragoons were sent forward to engage the French first, coming to blows with the Lancers.

Lifeguard Dragoons triumph early over the Lancers
While the French Chasseurs maneuvered and made ready to charge whatever chose to cross over the hillock.

Chassuers make ready to charge

Lancers fall back and attempt to rally
Turn two started with the Swedes making artillery ready and moving on their foot guns, that had been lagging behind the faster horse.

Start of turn 2
The French Chasseurs saw an opportunity, they struck out at the advancing horse guns, that had no covering horsemen.  Along the way the Division Commander was carried away in the confusion with the gunners taking flight!

The French Chasseurs were not in any good position though as the Swedish Cuirassier hammered into them to cover the guns escape, sending the light horsemen fleeing over the little hillcok to rally next to the still shaken Lancers.

Start of turn 3
All the French horse now had rallied and the Swedes had started to set up their guns to prevent any further French sallies over the hill.  Now also the flank force of Hussars was arriving to engage the somewhat wounded French horse.

recovering French Cavalry
Steady and holding Swedish Cuirassier
The start of turn four saw the arriving Swedish Hussars taking the field with gusto, in a wild rush to reach the seeming wounded French light horsemen ... though these must have been rookie Swedes, and the French were certainly veterans for what came next ...

start of turn 4
The Swedes could not roll higher than a "1" in the ensuing melee combats with the French Chasseurs and Lancers, this meant that the French won the flank battle and were going to be poised to escape and possibly shatter a Swedish force of Hussars along the way!

French light cavalry ready to charge again
In the rally section only one of the two Swedish Hussars manged to get re-organized in time to meet the on-rushing French.

start of turn 5
The Swedish Heavy Cavalry had received new orders and was again moving forward, yet now the action was decided
The French Chasseurs defeated half of the Swedish Hussar force, while the Lancers simply rode over the other half, that had failed to rally, and continued on to catch and destroy half of a horse battery attached to the Hussars.  This is what happens when rookies meet veterans (at least as decided by the low die rolls for the Swedes!)!

French veterans ride over Swedish recruits
situation at end of turn 5
That game was the one 'for the record' as it were in the Campaign of Nations.

We had time yet in the day so we quickly re-set the table and forces and 'switched sides' to see if any different result could be had.

Here is the AAR:

Maximizing the delivery of force, ALL Swedes arrive at the start

Artillery was also deployed under high command only, not the subordinates

no time was wasted in attacking the French with Dragoons right away

Artillery managed to get in shots on turn 2

both of the French light cavalry formations were shredded in direct combat during turn 2
Very fast, battle ended with the French utterly wiped out, good thing for the French that the 'campaign' game was the first one!

Monday, September 23, 2013

September SHAKO battle - rookie game

Chasseurs à Cheval
With a downpour that lasted all day, it was a perfect sort of day to set out the tabletop and game.

This was to be a pickup game teaching SHAKO (version 1, with the Chris Leach amendments for cavalry) and having a good exposition to the game and elements for a new player.

The match was a 1.5 to 1 in favor of the Prussians over a French force.  French had 4 battalions of foot with one of them being rated 'grenadier' or "Elite", 2 squadrons of regular cavalry, 2 'stands' (one full battery) of horse guns and 1 stand (1/2 battery) of foot artillery.  The Prussians had the same except they had 2 more regular foot battalions for a total of 6.

The new player chose to take on the French and after a short briefing about the ground situation in defensive and the option of using his cavalry in flank attack, he drew up his plans.  Likewise did my son, an experienced SHAKO player for the Prussian attackers.

opening situation
The 'random' ground consisted of two steep hills, one low hill, a 2-sector town and a forest.  The French were more or less 'in' the hills in this situation with the woods fully covering their left wing.
The Prussians put their cavalry in the open ground on their left, two brigades of foot in the center and the foot gun with Grenadiers to the right flank.  All forces had MOVE ORDERS right from the start ...

French right, can you spot the rookie mistake?

Prussian center and left

It took three turns to really get into contact with each other though, as the Prussians were ordered only to go to the center of the field and chose to march in lines forward and give fire.  The cavalry used the brow of the low hill to shadow some of their maneuver from the French guns, but in the end were faced with squares to have to deal with.

On turn 4 is when the real action got moving, as the French flank attack showed up with a die roll of "5"!

situation at end of turn 4
By now the French skirmishers of the far left had pinned down the foot battery (indeed scoring two hits!) and by the end of the turn one Prussian horse squadron was run off the board flank with nowhere to retreat to that was not also in range or contact with an enemy French unit!

French on the right hill - holding fire to blast any charging horsemen
French squares looking towards center of the field
the Prussian advance is halted, there are French horsemen to the rear!
With the score 2 (of 4 needed) for the French and 1 (of 3 needed) for the Prussians, the situation looked grim for the Prussians, my son chose to withdraw from the game.  I happily took over the position for I saw that the French cavalry would have to win all or risk loosing all ...

situation at the start of turn five
The Prussians got some early success scoring hits with Artillery, then with skirmishers on a trapped French square in the center of the field.  This made up for losing an entire battalion in the earlier part of turn 4.

Prussian artillery scoring hits at last
The French cavalry committed to the battle, Chasseurs to a square and the Hussars to a line, that failed to form emergency square!

French Cavalry Brigade commits to battle
Meanwhile the Prussian center closed up with the French center, placing a half battery of horse guns at point blank range on a vulnerable French square.

Prussians closing on the center
The melee for turn 5 mostly decided the game, both French attacks were thrown back, indeed they both came down to the tie breaker - #3 the side which won the move option - which for turn 5 was the Prussians due to a die roll as both sides did not have any active moving divisions.

Prussian Hussars, smashed through a horse battery and contacted the disordered Chasseurs still reeling back from the Prussian square (seen in foreground)
The charges as seen from the Prussian Hussars perspective.
This put the game at a tie 2:2 going into turn 6.  The Prussians again won the move option, charging the only slightly recovered French Hussars, the battle was not even close this time with the French taking some 4 casualties on top of the one already sustained, the French also lost a battalion that was marching in column (got disordered and could not recover) and was blasted by artillery.  Also the much beleaguered square in the center was also pounded again by artillery fire.  Final score Prussians 5 (of 3 needed) French 2 (of 4 needed).

Great game for a new player to setup the plan and move about the troops!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Garden Wars - rained out

The planned Garden Wars game today was rained out with a thunderstorm.

The planned GHQ for Bonaparte in the game ... rained out
I had laid out the terrain, as a tribute to Dresden, and was in the process of laying out the troops and watching the weather closely.

map as laid out, with rivers and woods enhanced
 The rain started light, which was a blessing, as I was able to rush to the yard and pull in the buildings, it had only been 45 minutes since laying out the terrain, the thunderstorms lasted for two hours.

rained out battle

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Tribute to Don Featherstone

A fitting tribute to the lon running work of Don Featherstone, who has passed recently, can be found at Vintage Wargaming.

Those connected with the model soldier hobby, who have taken time to learn of the history, will know of the name Don Featherstone.

If you have not yet encountered his name or works, take the time to read the pages from the 201's issue of his long running newsletter, posted at Vintage Wargaming.