Welcome to Marauder Moments - a chronicle of the Mortimer Street Marauders; the games we play, the rules we use, the figures we play with and the scenery they fight over. Hope you enjoy these pages and maybe call back to catch up with our escapades.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Atmospherics and updates

We played the Battle of Maida 1806 yesterday. I took the scenario from one of  the useful General de Brigade scenario supplements. Basically  we wanted to have a look at British Lines versus French Columns. Always hard to judge mid-game and taking care not to read too much into results from extreme dice rolls. Seemed to work out so far. Two things arose, are skirmishers a waste a time? Is it fun running at gun lines? Time and experience will tell I s'pose. We'll reserve judgement till we play some more. Forgot the camera again so these are a few shots from other games.

The locals get the "heck outta dodge" as the war comes to town.
Tony's baggage - really help set the scene, not sure whose models.   
Slighty out of focus but I kept this one for the smoke we laid on for the firefight  in the centre.
Russians storm this walled farm against stiff opposition.  
A French flank attack by Rich's forces including Guard Lancers, Dragoons and a heavy foot battery took the pressure off this attack and  prevented the Russian Grenadier Division supporting the center from exerting any influence at all. 
Rich executed his attack with uncommonly cool style; building his position from its late appearance on the table edge, through strong deployment, preliminary bombardment and then finally an irresistible assault. Great to watch, hard to emulate. 

Sometimes you have to ride over to your subordinate and yell at him in a foreign language.
Much like the English speaking citizen abroad who's misguided mantra is;
 "speak slowly and loudly - they'll understand".
Russian General of Heavy Cavalry Count Duka - Charging endlessly in the "fog of war."
How atmospheric is that? 
Just received a text to say the Army of Bohemia has arrived!
Always good to hear about reinforcements for the allied side, the War of Liberation needs all the help it can get against the tyrant Bonaparte. These are plastic Victrix Austrians supplied to me by the ever affable Steve at Triple Helix Wargames. He and Charlotte run this excellent wargames venue just outside Westbury in Wiltshire. Their place is host to our twice yearly Flames of War competition "Child's Play", the fluffiest show in town! Also for our big all day and weekend games, hi kids!
So, this weekend Chris and I  need to pick up 22 boxes of Austro-Hungarian critters and get gluing. With luck they'll all be painted by 1813(2013) along with the cavalry and artillery, skirmishers and general staff. Once I build a few I'll have a chat about them and our plans for the Army of Bohemia as a project.
Stock market tip - invest in white paint shares, we need gallons of the stuff.    

Thanks for looking, warpaintjj

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Cameos and out takes!

As our last game produced so few reasonable photos and only a cursory batrep (see last post) I thought I'd post a few in game shots from pre-blog days. Self indulgent? Sure is !

Not just a good panorama of this half of the table but also comedy gold.
Check out the lone figure bang in the middle of the photo...
He's the Russian General of Artillery pointing at his intended target from in front of a 12lb battery.
You just know his last words were...

Caption pointless - pic says all.
Unless you want to post one for a laugh? 

Prussian artillery caisson by Calpe miniatures painted by Prof Pender.

The Mecklenburg Strelitz Hussars, what a name.
Calpe by Prof Pender again.

"We're not playing anymore - goodbye!"
 The Brandenburg Uhlans pictured in a rather leisurely rout. Calpe by Prof. 

Superb picture of the Death Wish Hussars/ Death's Head Hussars in headlong charge.
 Note pig ugly mutt along for the ride. More Calpe by Prof Pender.
This has been fun, maybe we can do some more sometime. Cheers for looking,

Trapped against a river.

This week we played a quick game pitting my Prussians versus my French. The Prussian forces were trapped against a river in the middle-ish part of the table by two converging French forces. Sadly the photos were very poor so I can only offer a few of them and without them a battle report is pretty dull. Suffice to say I got butchered despite having the advantage of terrain and being in defense.
Two battalions of Swiss lead the crossing in the south. More head north to attack the ridge.
The converging French forces from the north can be seen on the very distant horizon.
Perry toys and limber.
French Columns approach a Prussian line through farmland. Perry toys.
Italian 12lb foot battery deploys to bombard the village just off stage right.
Elite guns & crew, Perry generals & limber.
Saxon Garde de Corp and Von Zastrows charge down hill into Prussian rubbish with predictable results.
Foundry Prussians with GMB flags, Perry plastic heavies with added plumes
 and Saxon paint job

Massed French approach the Prussian lines from the north. Perry plastic French, Foundry  Prussians.
The French commanders took their own merry time deploying and bashing the Prussians about with artillery fire while they got themselves sorted out for the inevitable assaults. Determined not to take this sitting down von Horn launched his Landwehr lancers at a French horse battery attached to the Saxon cavalry brigade. The brave lancers ran right into a storm of grapeshot, men and horses bowling over each other in the carnage - but they held their nerve and crashed into the battery cutting them down on the spot. Carried away by their own unexpected success they then charged the nearest enemy formation....
Sadly this happened to be both regiments of elite Saxon Cuirassiers who were sitting uphill of them and pretty pissed off about having their artillery support smeared across the landscape! Naturally the heavies came belting down the hillside and tore the lancers apart.

And that was the best thing to happen on the Allied side all night! Each and every time our forces contacted the rampant French, they threw back the brave Army of Liberation. Soon it looked pretty grim as both extremes of the Prussian line ran off in rout and the central position was beginning to become constricted by forces falling back from both north and south into what was becoming a rather congested area of villages and woods. Sensing the very real danger of total encirclement I gave the order to withdraw while there was still one narrow escape route to the east. Being surrounded and forced to surrender would have been too much to bare, even for my good natured soul!  

The French line and some elite units were simply too much for my 2nd class and conscript troops even though the "enthusiastic" bonus in General de Brigade kept them in it for a while. What veteran battalions I had just weren't up for it this time.        

I'm afraid that's it for piccies of this game. I'll stick up some shots of other games etc later to amuse myself & the gentle reader.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Battle of Zbrovski

Ancient readers of Wargames Illustrated may recall this game from an article by Pete Morbey of Elite Miniatures many years ago. In issue 98 Pete set out a hypothetical Napoleonic encounter between a Russian rearguard and an advancing French force hellbent on clearing the road for the main force. We played this same game about a year ago in 15mm using the Black Powder rules - it was a blood bath. This time we revisited Zbrovski in 28mm using General de Brigade rules - it was still a blood bath.
The plateau - Looking east towards Zbrovski in the far distance.
The town of Zbrovski is dominated by a plateau with an un-named village on it and dense woods to the west. To the east of Zbrovski is a boggy valley over looked by bluffs to the north and south. The French are advancing from the north down the road; the Russian rear guard is awaiting them.
Looking west along the boggy valley to the plateau beyond .
The un-named village with farmland and drainage ditches.
The opposing forces

The Russians
1st Brigade - 3 x 32 Grenadiers (elite), 2 x 32 Line.
2nd Brigade - 6 x 32 Line
3rd Brigade  - 2 x 32 Jaeger, 4 x 32 Line
Cavalry Brigade - 1 x32 Cuirassiers, 2 x 32 Dragoons
Artillery - 2 x 6 6lb batteries, must be attached to infantry brigades

The French
1st Brigade - 3 x 36 Line, 2 x Legere (elite)
2nd Brigade - 4 x 36 Line
3rd Brigade - 4 x 36 Line
4th Brigade - 5 x 36 Line
Cavalry Brigade - 32 x Cuirassiers, 24 x Chassuers a Cheval
2 x 4 8lb foot batteries (unattached)

We're just getting the hang of the skirmisher rules so didn't include any in this game.

The Russians refused their right by slapping down four battalions of grenadiers and six 6lbs screened by patches of marsh. This covered any attempt to out flank Zbrovski which was garrisoned by two further battalions with more behind in support! The eastern end of the ridge was held by another six gun battery; the unnamed farming community was occupied by two battalions with two more to each side and the rear. On the Russian far left, out of sight below the ridge line of the plateau lurked Duka's heavy cavalry, 32 Curassiers, and 2 x 32 Dragoons. They had only to ride forward up onto the plateau to effectively prevent any further advance on the French right - how hard could that be...
Zbrovski's garrison with supports and a big battery on the far flank - a tough nut to crack.

The French had a very similar idea...! The French C-in-C elected to make a big push over the plateau and hook around Zbrovski. To this end he put me in front of Zbrovski with two batteries plus four battalions on hold orders - just sit and blast away tying up and pinning the grenadiers opposite. The cavalry were in the center ready to go either way as he saw fit. The idea was to pin the garrison and supporting units whilst the heavier numbers on the right did all the fighting.
Italian gunners squint into the rising sun just before running out of ammo! Elite miniatures.
French gunners looking busy as Saxon heavies maneuver past. Perry Miniatures.
So as the sun rose the French guns opened fire on Zbrovski - the Italian battery realised they were almost out of ammunition so fired at half effect for the whole game - an excellent start. On the right the French columns crested the escarpment onto the plateau and began to flood onto the farmland. The Russians remained stoically in place except the refused flank which decided that "the best form of defense is attack" and made for my small brigade in front of Zbrovski - this took me completely by surprise especially as they double paced and began dragging the canons forward too!

Massed French columns assault the plateau. Perry plastics in need of basing . Ugly markers - I know!    
As the battle got under way a fierce fight on the high ground developed with the Russian battery doing terrible damage to the French, who despite the casualties began to force the defenders from the farmstead. To  reinforce the position the Russians ordered the Heavy Cavalry to attack the French infantry threatening to envelop the whole position. Mistakenly the cavalry general began to retire from the field - blame the fog of war and rolling two double ones for order changes! This was plainly disastrous and began to unhinge the Russian left.
Pressure on the Russian left and the Russian heavies - 3 x 32 silly buggers! More behind them off table. 
To relieve the pressure on the centre the Russians planned to move the unengaged Brigade from behind Zbrovski up onto the plateau, however the French general had foreseen this and ordered my cavalry to charge - thereby pinning them. The purpose of this was lost on me and I got quite annoyed but went in with the Saxon heavies anyway, duly they bounced back through the supporting unit of Hussars - luckily both regiments remained formed. I really needed the cavalry on my left as the Russian "refused flank" was in danger of turning mine. The brave/dumb Russian Grenadiers were walking through cannister and volley fire without slowing pace. I really didn't need this as I had deployed poorly - not expecting an attack the Italian battery was very exposed and low on ammo of course!

Rosy cheeked Russian militia led by a stalwart old veteran from a previous century, complete with massive moustache and walking cane. A lovely regiment by the ever resourceful & talented Tony. Wargames Foundry toys.
The real action was up on the high ground where the farm complex had fallen to the elite Legere, the Russian cavalry had ridden off on some errand and the supporting Russian infantry were faltering. Chris, the French C-in-C decided to press the advantage as the enemy brigades were in a mess by now. As all his charges failed to close due to casualties I crossly reprimanded him "you've pushed the men too hard!" In a rare scene he spun on his heel and bollocked me! (both of us getting a bit carried away there, it really is only a game). As if to punish my insubordination he then ordered my cavalry brigade to charge up the slope and take the massive battery which was holding up his columns. This was plainly suicide which is exactly what I muttered as I walked back to make the moves. The Hussars went in first and predictably went down horribly to cannister, turning tale and fleeing. However the move worked and gave Chris's infantry just the respite he needed to get in amongst the disordered battalions and cause two Russian brigades to break or retire. This opened up the Russian centre and despite the Russian Grenadiers on my left capturing the Italian battery the rest of my puny brigade held and finally pushed back the only credible Russian brigade still on the field.

Vastly outnumbered Russian infantry supporting the farmstead - could do with some heavy cavalry really...
Wargames Foundry Russians, Perry commanders and French.

The Russian rear guard was defeated and the road lay open for the advance of the French main body. A really good game which was in the balance for a long time. I never fully understood Chris's plan so just followed my orders (sometimes grudgingly, sometimes with open hostility). However he knew what he was doing and it all came together. I am convinced that the departure of Duka's Russian heavy cavalry had a major impact, Chris is not so sure, I guess we'll never know.
The Russian battery which punished Chris's columns and massacred my Hussars in their suicidal charge - thanks Chris.
Wargames Foundry Russians - Perry French. 

Thanks to Pete Morbey for the scenario and to Tony and Chris for a brutal encounter. Many more to come.