Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I have a winner to announce from the recent LATIVM CVP, De Bellis Antiquitatis Tournament.

--- drum roll please ---


--- trumpet fanfare ---

His championship now stands as the first one to go all the way through the 'round-robin' undefeated, then defeat the 4th and 2nd place finishers from that round robin!

Look for more details about this event follow up in the coming days (I have to survive the sugar rush of three small boys first!).

Wherein Offenbach troops of the Soweiter League co-operated with Frankzonian forces to delay a VILE Stagonian army that had approached the town and its works.

The opening to the battle saw the diplomatic exchanges continue right onto the battlefield, as the entire Stagonian aims were to 'punish' Frankzonian limericks found scrawled over buildings and bridges in the region. Baron Gaspar du Vile, commander of the Stagonians, sent off a collection of staff officers and one of his own Aide de Camp's to 'smooth over' the situation with the Offenbach troops, offering to not fire on them first - should they do the desired thing and not fire at them...

With this messenger group sent off under a white flag (though in the rain some of the Offenbach militia could not tell if it was 'white' or 'white with golden fleur-de-lys') the Stagonian army lurched into motion.

The first moves were taken by a mercenary Brigade under one Prinz Robert Axe of The Hertzogh of Burtzenia, their objective was the greater hill to the north west of the works and outside the ramshakle defensive works that the Offenbach militia had thrown up to blockade the roads to the north and west. The rest of the Stagonians managed a slow march forward until their commander, Brig. Graf Adolf von Voss, began a vitriolic exchange of messages and notes with the army commander (part of this is due to family 'issues' between the two clans), while this argument progressed von Voss' brigade was halted, well within range of the Frankzonian artillery.

The starting situation in the 'allied' lines was anything but clear...at first they were not 'in position' standing at the barricades to the west, in order to be ready to face the Stagonians, and the 'allied' lines were actually pointed AT one another while the Stagonians formed their ranks. Fully one-third of the Frankzonian infantry and half of their artillery were ready to engage the Offenbach militia (their nominal ally). It took the efforts of the Earl of Flynn to sort the matter out with the Frankzonian high command, all the while the possibility of combat erupting between the two 'allies' was a very real possibility. For the Offenbachers it was an unknown situation seeing the massive Stagonian army assemble to the west while their 'flank' was turned by the Frankzonian to the north.

With great crashes of thunder the Frankzonian artillery boomed out, at least the battery commanders had no illusions about the Stagonian intentions towards them! This battery was to deal out death and destruction on a massive scale into the Voss brigade all day long, firing very nearly without error!

At the far flank of the Frankzonian line were the four companies of the Frankfurt Guild Militia Battalion. They were to face the brunt of Stagonian attack early in the battle.
At one point the Guild Militia advanced, but after loosing nearly a whole company in 15 minutes from concentrated Stagonian artillery fire they rolled back to their starting line. Brave though they were, this formation was unable to stay in the field until the end of day, having retired some hours before the 2nd Battalion Foot Longs.

After about 2 hours of standing and taking relentless fire, the Stagonian Battalion of O'Duffy was very nearly out of men and on the verge of retreat many times.

Also the Frankzonian plan of attack had become clear to the VILE Stagonian General Baron Gaspar du Vile, they - the Frankzonians were being permitted through the Offenbach defences and re-deploying to the far south, beyond the south hills was an open plain, which the cavalry was rushing towards in order to exploit and 'turn' the Stagonian flank. Baron Gaspar du Vile had ordered his horse to similarly deploy to the south fields and both cavalry columns were now in a desperate race to the south...

It was while the Frankzonian cavalry was hustling past the works and Offenbach command HQ of General Leopold that the ADC of Baron Gaspar du Vile was presented to the General and his staff. He heard the offer of neutrality from the Stagonians and agreed that his forces would remain 'in place' and 'ready' at the barricades. That he would take no aggressive action against Stagonian forces unless they approached the defences or fired upon anyone from the Soweiter League. This ADC had left before Brigadier Shlidelisht had greeted the General and accepted a glass of wine from him as his Cuirassier squadrons passed by.

Offenbach militia troops now had manned the barricades to the west and were observers to the wild fighting on the greater hill to the northwest, where the Mercenary Brigade under Axe was fighting bitterly uphill against first jagers, then line troops of Frankzonia of the 2nd Battalion Foot Longs. The 'fat chickens' were the first to crest the hill, only to be facing the levelled barrels of the entire 2nd Battalion of the Foot Longs, who promptly blasted them to bits! The Mercenary brigadier Prinz Axe, aggresive by nature, simply pushed the 'fire ants' up the hill to assault the 2nd Battalion Foot Longs at once!

Meanwhile, in the south, the two cavalry forces had begun to assemble...

Back to the north von Voss Brigade had begun to move again, only to halt standing among the dead of the first line from O'Duffy's, this time these VILE Stagonians would have to face both the medium battery that had killed off O'Duffy's AND the light battery which had started the day prepared to fire on Offenbach!

On the great hill, the 2nd Battalion Foot Longs, stood upon the crest, and were shocked to see the fire ants coming at them! Beyond could be seen the real size of the Stagonian army, which had an entire Brigade standing in reserve (essentially) since the Offenbachers were prepared to watch this contest rather than participate in it!

To the south on the open fields the cavalry melee had begun, first in were Hillary's Hussies, who managed to charge and cause the von Kirschstein Kuirassier, elite horsemen, of Stagonia to flee! All seemed to be ready for a great sweep into the vile Stagonians! They were brought to a halt by the Jailler Hussars, who then engaged them toe-to-toe for a very short engagement, sending them fleeing from the scene of battle. The Jailler Hussars then pursued, and shattered the fleeing Hussars with their blown mounts.

The Jailler Hussars then recalled from their charge before HC Reiters could engage them. The Reiters had seen the Hussies flee around them and were not eager to engage the larger numbers of enemy formation opposite them until the Vinny's Vincibles another Cuirassier unit could join them. They were not to be given the opportunity. With the von Kirschstein Kuirassier now rallied in their rear, the charged into the HC Reiters, sending them fleeing for cover, then swung into a position to threaten Vinny's Vincibles while the Benzler Dragoons began to fire into their flanks, then charged, sending them recoiling towards the east. Brigadier Shlidelisht could now see that his horse were outnumbered and in bad positions, he issued an immediate order to withdraw further south, as the Offenbachers would clearly not agree to let them back north through the town defences. He sent riders to warn General L'Haugen Bienz of this situation.

Back to the north the artillery batteries of Frankzonia continued their pounding of vile Stagonians, only this time these vile Stagonians refused to break and run, the continued to steadfastly stand their ground and soak up vast numbers of casualties!

General L'Haugen Bienz was informed of the cavalry debacle in the south then decided upon seeing the white coated Mercenaries 'fire ants' coming down the north slope hard on the heels of the broken companies of the 2nd Battalion Foot Longs that this battle was not going to his advantage and that immediate withdrawl would preserve the 1st Battalion along with all the ordinnance cannon.

General Leopold then sent word to the victor of the day, Baron Gaspar du Vile to join him in Offenbach town to dine on sweet meats and enjoy an Offenbach vintage while they discuss matters martial.


This was a fun game to run since I was able to get the 'parts' put together from other players, thus play it out "by proxy" and that the outcome was not going to be just another 'dud' once I walked away from the table. There were going to be other consequences for players thousands of miles away...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Offenbach Order of Battle:

While the situation of what sort of battle will happen at Offenbach on Sunday Oct 21 is still 'fluid' the nature and composition of the forces available to the combattants is not.

Here is the 'snapshot' recce of the forces involved:
For Offenbach, part of the Soweiter League there are three (3) battalions of Infantry a medium battery and an unknown number of Dragoons. The unknown is part of the ongoing diplomatic and reconnaissance functions that these fast moving troops will need to perform over the next few days.

For Frankzonia, there is an Infantry Brigade consisting of three (3) battalions of Infantry, a smattering of skirmish 'jager' type troops and an artillery train of one light and one medium battery. Also there is a 'heavy' cavalry force of two (2) formations of Cuirassier and one (1) heavy formation of Hussars.

For Stagonia, there are three Infantry Brigades, two 'national' ones and a 'mercenary' force of sympathetic Gallian townships. Taken in order then there is a 'heavy' Infantry Brigade of three (3) Battalions, some skirmishers, a medium and a light battery. The second Brigade contains three (3) Battalions and a medium battery. The mercenary force has two (2) Battalions and a light battery. Riding with this force is a heavy cavalry brigade consisting of two (2) Galloper/Trotter formations, a force of Hussars and a force of Dragoons.

The diplomatic situation is not yet 'crystallized' but before that happens the overall military order of battle has.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Blazing Brushes:

The white coated Burtzenians get more troops on the way...ultimately these troops will also have duty as early Napoleonic Spanish also.

Not much else to say other than the pressure is suddenly on for some of these troops as I would like to use one of them in the coming battle by proxy on Sunday.

I've also finished the Ancients for use in the LATIVM CVP on October 28.
Battle by Proxy at Offenbach

It would appear that the command structure and more details about the forces of the Soweiter League have been published:

In command: General Leopold

Forces in Offenbach:
Hesse-Offenbach Marching Band (line inf.) - commanded by Conductor-Colonel Korngold
Offenbach Militia 1 "Steiner's Strings" - commanded by Col. Steiner
Offenbach Militia 2 "Legrand's Brass" - commanded by Col. Legrand

Offenbach Dragoons - Col. Morriconi

also it would appear that the Works have been very productive recently as there are now two artillery units available.

Artillery Battery 1 "Pachelbel's Cannon" - Conductor Hans Pachelbel
Artillery Battery 2 "Boom Boom Battery"- Conductor Franz Tchaikovsky, it is thought that the Boom Boom Battery are the larger older guns stationed at the walls...

Further rumors have begun to circulate that it is not vile Stagonia that is attacking at all...that this story is a ruse to allow Frankzonia to cross the borders unhindered. The truth of this rumor is yet to be found as many think that the 'rumor' was started by Stagonian agents.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Battle by proxy:

There appears to be a battle in the offering between an allied force consisting of the troops of Frankzonia and the Soweiter League going against vile Stagonia

While the exact force composition is not completely clear it would appear that
General L'Haugen Bienz of Frankzonia will command an allied force consisting of:

Frankzonia Cavalry under Brigadier Shlidelisht
Hillary's Hussies: an 800 man Hussar unit
HC Reiters: a 700 man Cuirassier unit
Vinny's Vincibles: a 700 man Cuirassier unit

Frankzonian Infantry under Oberst Pfennighalter
IR Foot Longs 1st Battalion: 600 men
IR Foot Longs 2nd Battalion: 600 men
Frankfurt Guild Militia Battalion: 600 men
along with two artillery batteries, one light and one medium

The Soweiter forces are more 'hazy' in composition at the moment, but consist of:

Two Aide de Camps that will 'shepherd' General L'Haugen Bienz while directing the overall course of the battle...

Soweiter Brigade (whose commander's name has not been gazetted)
A 'regular' Battalion: 600 men
A 'line' Battalion: 600 men
A 'militia' Battalion: 600 men
A 'militia' Battalion: 600 men
one medium artillery battery (recently finished at the nearby Offenbach Works).

This 'allied'* force will have to contend with a sizable marching army coming from the Kingdom of vile Stagonia

The exact details of this attacking army are not known well, however scouts have reported:

A command and staff of the usual compliment, a commander with 2 ADC's.

A large cavalry force with at least four formations, one of which is Cuirass, and one (the largest) is a force of mercenary Dragoons from Gallian townships.

There are two full Infantry Brigades containing at least three battalions of infantry each.

There is also a two battalion strong mercenary contingent of infantry marching with these Stagonians, whether they are only 'for show' or will act as 'scouting raiders' or will stand on the field of battle is not known.

* = it is important to note that neither the Soweiter League nor Frankzonia have formally settled on terms of alliance forces working together and that, as of this writing, they were still having rather heated arguments regarding these dispositions. Stagonian agents are well aware of these developments and informed the field commanders of them.

The allied army will have the task of defending Offenbach and its works, as these are definately the major 'prize' to be had by Stagonia should they manage to overcome the forces of the Soweiter League, something that is all but assured unless they accept the Frankzonian assistance!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Best laid plans:

Of Habsberg "mice" according to Frenchmen.

I have looked into the time horizon and seen a future filled with Austrians and British.

Along the way I have delved into the critical battles in Bavaria and along the Danube from the 1809 Campaign. While they are all gameable (some easier than others), I am searching for players interested in something 'more' than just another tabletop 'refight' of a historical battle.

The 1809 Campaign, calls to mind massive movements of armies and political considerations needing to be taken into account for each step of the way for the Austrians, and equally massive headaches (initially) for the French. Such things can be done, and I would really like to 'give it a go'.

To my mind what is needed, at a minimum, are three players willing to take on the roles of Marshal Berthier, Emperor Francis I and Archduke Charles. With more players can come more 'intrigues' and more potential. Such as with 5 players at the start then there could be Berthier, Davout, Francis I, Charles and one more player taking on the 'political' roles of Britian and Prussia. Obviously as more players are added, then the ability to act for certain players would be reduced (such as a 6th player becoming Russia). Needless to say, that the 'battles' also need not only be faught out on my tabletop alone...should there be willing others to take on such battles by proxy.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A De Bellis Antiquitatis game series...

All it takes is a few interested opponents, my mini-tourney set and a few hours to remind me why I like DBA so much.

I had three players looking to 'warm-up' for my coming DBA tournament I call THE LATIVM CVP.

While they all had 'pushed lead' before and I think 2 of them had at least studied Hordes of the Things, they had not done this game.

With about 20 minutes description and a bit of discussion about the tourney format we were off to games!

My armies are centered around the 'Rise of Rome - 350 bce' game series, so there are loads of spear, auxilia and psiloi along with some blades and cavalry to make things interesting.

The 'learning-curve' for DBA is so short that I find it takes about as much time to explain the chess moves and start a game as it does to do DBA. Similar to chess, knowing the moves and getting into action are different things altogether...

All three players said that they learned much (even correcting a mistake they had been doing in Hordes of the Things) and that they will be at the 28 October tournament!

My thanks to Paul for the pictures!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Italian Hill Tribes are done in time for the game(s) later today.

Whew, it took more than an hour to get the boys to sleep tonight, that meant a long night painting for me after they were finally asleep (well stapled into bed...).

I will finish the flocking in the late morning (today) on these 10 warband, 10 auxilia (the options) and 1 psiloi and 1 cavalry force stands. That way all will be fully finished in time for the warm-up games for the DBA tournament on October 28.

Just for Jeff, here is a sneak peek at the next items I have planned for the painting desk:

two formations of 'tricornes'!

a formation of 'top hats' (for use as militia or auxiliary or other non-line troops)

and a formation of 'light infantry' as was used by the british in the North American campaigns in the middle to late 1700's.

I have had a chance to read over Quebec 1759, and the first copywright date is 1972, making this an early game from Tom Dagleish, predating "Napoleon" or "Waterloo", which the game is very much like.

I have not yet played it but it seems to have a very 'diplomacy' like element to it that brings both bluff and guile into the play of the game, since you have 'blank' or 'dummy' counters to use in order to confuse the troops situation. Also orders must be written down then revealed by both players at the same time, making it harder to 'react' move and this is where the bluffing game can come into the fore...

More reading to do then I'll need to find an opponent!

The cool part is, since the orders are to be written down, it should be suitable for use in email or web-based games.

Enjoy the pics!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I've been examining the calendar again.

This time looking into the 2008-2009 event horizon and delving into what needs doing on the miniatures front.

Coming up in 2008 will be the 200th anniversary of the French invasion of Portugal the Spanish revolt and the whole of the British experience in the Iberian Peninsula. My son Alex is just thrilled, I will finally get going on painting red-coats!

Being something of Sharpe fans there will undoubtedly be a number of 'Green Jackets' as well...

August 2008 will see the Vimeiro game, and for it I have plans to cast and paint 7 different 16-figure 'red-coat' units and the 60th Rifles and the 95th as a pair of 16-figure units (so that I may field them in their full battalion strength(s) if so desired). Also looking to do an 8-mini 20th Light Dragoons (still seeking a good tarleton-clad sample) and a three battery collection of royal artillery (but still trying to find out the calibres of the guns in the 1808 campaign and whether it was Horse artillery or full Foot artillery uniformed gunners (I have both)). I've got an early Wellesley, and a later version of the whole staff so the upper escehlon command should be easy, it is the 'staff' officers and Lt. Cols that I am still seeking some good samples of. I have some very good Scruby Portuguese that will do for all those forces needed in the scale I am working, so at least they are ready.

I have the Osprey Campaign Series #90, Vimeiro 1808 to use as a guide for the campaign and battle planning, along with my other Napoleonic titles in my library.

Further calendar examination shows the whole of the Danube Campaign of 1809 looming on the horizon. Meaning lots of Austrians! For now I have not done any calculations, and since the moulds for the Brits will be busy first I know that I need not rush, however I did prepare 10 batteries of guns, 6 Horse and 4 foot along with 30 or so gunners for painting as Austrians...look for them to come out this winter!

While considering all this I was reading over at Grimsby Mariner, he has done a comprehensive review of his current collections. Impressive!

Mine own are more humble and mostly centered around Napoleonics, I shall survey them later...the topic reminded me of something I was told about while I considered getting into the hobby.

I was looking at the seemingly endless options and scheming and planning many different things when I was brought up short by this simple statement:

First pick an era or conflict, such as Roman Republic around 100ad.
Then pick a rules set that you can enjoy playing over and over, for me this was De Bellis Antiquitatis.
Then get the miniatures you will need to do BOTH SIDES of a starting battle for that game system.
Well, often you get the statement that you should team-up with someone and each get an army and work from there. While this is a fair compromise and you will get some games in, what happens when one of you moves? Changes interest? Gets married? etc.
If you have BOTH SIDES of at least one game then you will always be able to at least play one game. Imagine buying a chess set, only to find out you only have the white pieces?
In my case DBA can be used with 25mm or 15mm (or any size really) figures, so I opted to go for the 15mm ones and got enough figs to do the entire ROMAN periods, from the Rise of Rome in 450 bce to the fall in 500 ce. I have also found DBA to be a great way to 'introduce' new players to the whole concept of miniature games, with the limited number of pieces in a game (12 per side) it is actually smaller than a chess game in manipulatives; of course game play is much more animated than chess.
Finally pursue this genre of game until you feel totally exhausted with it, when the idea of going back to another game of X leave you feeling tired and worn out even though you have not even touched a fig or a die then you know you have reached the end.

I only mention this as Grimsby was musing about where next...I would ask him,
"Do you feel as though you have exhausted your current collection?"

I ask posters here,
"What have you tired of and given up from your games collection?"