Saturday, January 19, 2013

Battle of the Upper Spree

The Campaign of Nations has continued, this time with a battle east of Berlin, at a crossing of the Spree River.
Russians move to the attack, screening their Hussars and Dragoons with Cossacks ...

Ponitowski's VIII Corps was holding the area, when through the north woods came two Russian Corps and  a Division of Swedish cavalry.
French and Russians - with Swedish support face off across the Spree River

Hoping to delay long enough to get re-enforced by Oudinot's XII Corps, Poniatowski chose to make his stand within firing range of the fords.
Oudinot's view of the start of the action

Pozzo di Borgo, while nominally in command was willing to permit Voronsov to take the field command, at least until he dithered overlong (which was determined to be if the Russians lost the initiative for two pulses in a row).

View of the field from behind the French left ... outgunned 3:1
 While both forces were engaged at the river on the open ground, the Russians had sent three brigades of Cossacks into the woods to flank the French, while Oudinot had sent off his own Hussar brigade and a brigade of line infantry supported by a brigade of conscripts.

Russian forces set to cross the Spree and attack the Polish Corps
The die 6 was rolled to determine the battle start ... it came up a "1", meaning that the Russians started the battle at 06h00!

An amazing turn of events for certain, did Pozzo di Borgo know that Oudinot was coming?  That he would need time to get to the field?  Just as the Swedish Cavalry would need time?  The Position Battery performed perfectly to open the battle ... 100% hits on the first salvo, which utterly shattered the battle effectiveness of the Polish brigade that was the target.

This was followed by a charge of Uhlans, which were in turn attacked by the flanking brigade of Poles.

The French counter attack also included a charge by Cuirassier, who caught the Uhlans after they fell back from the Polish counter-attack.

This brigade of Uhlans held up the heavy Cuirassier long enough for two brigades of Hussars to cross the ford and prepare to flank the entire VIII Corps position.

Russian Hussars stream across the Spree as Uhlans are cut apart by French Cuirassier
Giving as good as they take the Polish Brigade of Sierawski drives off the Russian Uhlans

Turn one was to have three pulses, by the end neither commander had any command dice left and the battle got away from the commanders for a moment.

A wild series of melees were conducted on after the other right at the bridgehead

Both of the close-in Russian commands decided to attack (rolling 10+ on 2d6 causes this in FPGA) this sent both Arentschild's brigade and the covering troops of the Position Battery, Grenadiers and line infantry across the river (not in the actual plan of the Russians to waste these troops this way).  It was enough to send off the French Cuirassier and keep the crossing open for more Russians to cross.

wild fighting with abandon at the bridgehead as commanders loose some control over their troops
The far right flank of the French line is overcome by the Hussar brigades that have crossed over and now wrap around the Polish brigade.  Meantime Russian horse artillery crosses the river in mass.

Russian Hussars finish off the Polish Division of Kaminiecki
By the start of turn 2, even though the artillery of XII Corps was now present and he knew how close the rest of the Corps was, it was clear to Oudinot that he could not hold this field today.  The only question was could he get away with the artillery of VIII Corps and any of the men?

Start of turn two - by 10h00 it was clear the French would not prevail
One last act of defiance, a Polish brigade steps forward to delay the Russians for one more pulse
The Poles score a skirmisher hit on the advancing Russians - the only skirmish of the day!
Oudinot was now in a race with the pursing Russians, could these guns get away?
The Russian counter attack was to swarm over the last defending Infantry Brigade, striking with Infantry and Cossacks.  Then to prepare an attack against the Cuiarassier, who were now positioned to guard the flank of the retreating cannon, for the horse guns and the newly arrived foot artillery of XII Corps had already been sent off in retreat and safety of the woods road to the west.

Cossacks stand triumphant over the bridgehead amid the carnage of at least 6 Brigades
The end of the action, Swedish Cavalry has crossed the Spree along with the HQ of Pozzo di Borgo
The last act, was for the Cossacks to sacrifice themselves in the destruction of two of the three batteries groups that were fleeing for safety while the Hussars teamed up on the Cuirassier and in a flanking maneuver, cut them down.

Swedish Cavalry race into the field just as Russian Hussars finish off the last French cavalry
Russian forces cheered the victory, won before mid-day.
Of all of VIII Corps under Poniatowski, only 1/3 of the foot artillery managed to escape this battle.  XII Corps would flee from the area driven on by the remnants of the Polish Corps.

The Russians would not pursue, though the three brigades of Cossacks in the woods would make sure that the French retreat would be monitored, if not spurred on ...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Austrian Napoleonic Infantry - Work in progress 2

Working towards the brighter white in the Austrian Napoleonic uniform.

Austrian Napoleonic Uniform, illustrated by L & F Funcken
I like to use the wonderful artworks of Liliane and Fred Funcken for my inspiration while working on these painting projects.  While there may be some errors in the precise details of the illustrations, they are a fantastic source of inspiration, I am constantly finding new useful patterns for setting up my forces so that I may be able to specifically identify units troops after they have been 'killed off' and laid down on the table - so that I may be able to reconstitute the units before storage.  This is a challenge unique to my own method of gaming, however I have recently found this a great advantage as I am able to switch from a skirmish level battle (with single mini = 1 man) to a battalion level game like SHAKO, then to an army Corps game like Fast Play Grand Armee with only about 30 minutes of time used up in the 'transfer' of troops to the different sized base stands called for in each game system.

Austrian Napoleonic officers uniforms stand out with their brown coats
This lot will also feature the 'wrapped' flagpoles, they would be wrapped in black, white, red and yellow ribbons which I will be simulating with paints.

Jagers in their distinctive Corsican hat seen in the foreground
With this lot I am also doing a battalion strength of Jagers, in their gray uniforms with green facings.  Their Corsican hats make them stand out as different from the other Austrian infantry.

Battle today

The playtest for the Campaign of Nations game continues.

Carlo Andrea Pozzo di Borgo

Today I shall be hosting a tabletop battle using Fast Play Grand Armee in a battle situation created by army moves in the campaign game.

The battle will feature overall command by Pozzo di Borgo, an interesting diplomat, with direct historical ties to Bonaparte in Corsica.

Poniatowski and possibly Oudinot will be the opposing commander ... more about it all here at Murdock'S MarauderS once the battle is done.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Austrian Infantry - Work in progress - Napoleonic Uniform

When setting up my forces for use on the magnetic bases, I have kept in mind being able to 'identify' units as distinct and separate from each other.

Austrian Napoleonic Uniforms as illustrated by L & F Funcken

This has meant that I use things such as the 'pose' of the miniature (whole battalions are either firing, kneeling or marching), or by using some particular coloring that matches with those of the nation-state historically.

troops at the blue coat stage

While many of the Austrian battalions had sky blue or variations of red 'facing colors' (what is the difference between lobster red and poppy red?) I will use the standard seven colors from the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) to make my troops different.  Also I shall be making two of the forces Hungarian, with the blue trousers, so that will permit me to 'mix it up' with the colors a bit.

Since most of the uniform is white, I like to undercoat a blue, as the first layer on top of the gray primer that is sprayed on the minis.  This permits me to work towards a bright white highlight and have plenty of definition in the layers of lighter blue below.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Game on a Map

In the play test in progress for the Campaign of Nations that I am doing in conjunction with 7 other tabletop and internet players, there is a call for a table layout, for a game potentially to be played using SHAKO.

As I am reasonably familiar with the game system I took a quick shot at doing a table layout that would provide some interesting potential.

A game on a map, 1813 River Crossing in force
Essentially this is a river crossing assault at 3:1 odds in manpower.  The difficulty is the quality of the troops doing the assault: Landwher.  While the Prussians of 1813 were very exuberant and willing to 'get at' the French oppressors ... their martial skills were no where near the same as their French, or in this case Polish, counterparts and the Prussian equipment was quite often obsolete, improvised, or almost non-existent (with pikes being used at times).  So the battle power is more like 2:1 at best.

While Jiminho has decided to set up the game, it would be fun if there were others who took a run at this scenario.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Prussians Finished

99 new 'late war' Prussians with three artillery batteries
Started in early December 2012, this force of 99 Prussians fills out my Prussian ranks in their 1813-15 uniforms.

Detail view of the same Prussians, still needing flags ...
Now I start on the replacement of the Austrian forces, in time for the battles likely to happen in 2013, with the Campaign of Nations looking to go into full action.

some of the 120 Austrians now ready to get mounted to sticks for painting