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, 7 October 2011

Ground Hog Day

Last weeks game was so fun and so quick we decided to go back and play it again. This allowed me to reshoot some of the action and allowed us to try a few different tactics. The only changes were as follows; Chris joined as my Number 2 on the French side; we swapped table edges - so the Brits defended. Lastly Rich put on a small walled field when no one was looking. This served no purpose other than to be infantile and to block the advance of his reserves - ha!

If you haven't read the last post or have forgotten it here is the point of the game. A small British force (actually KGL) is garrisoning both the Church at San Christobel high on the ridge and the farm and groves nearby in the valley. As the French approach skirmishers rush into the olive and orange groves and the garrisons steel themselves for the onslaught. Happily there are reinforcements on the way in the form of KGL Light Dragoons and lots of infantry. Unbeknownst to the French there are also two allied battalions and a small RHA battery approaching the other side of the ridge - about two moves away in fact! So the French must clear the blocking forces and hold off the reserves, the allies must resist - simple.

Looking down from the ridge in the allied rear towards the farm. French cavalry are covering the extreme  left of the French line which is hidden from view by the buildings.
Looking from the ridge in the rear of the allied line toward the Church and the rocky outcrop on the ridge which forms the other end of the battlefield. This is turn two and the KGL have got to the high ground first with two battalions and a small RHA battery. The French and their allies deploy from march columns in the distance. Woods and orange groves separate the two ends of the battlefield with open plains to each side.   

Redcoats prepare to defend the barrels of booze with their very lives.
Victrix toys from Rich's collection - painted by Barry Hill. 
Rich's allies swept forward and started to climb the San Christobel ridge in the first few turns while the French in the same sector deployed from march into battle formations and got the guns set up to soften up the defenders. At the other end of the field three French columns preceeded by clouds of voltigeurs plodded towards the farm with cavalry covering the open ground on their flank. Early exchanges of fire were predictably unproductive except to make some noise and smoke. Having said that Chris showed us how skirmishers work by getting a couple of kills straight away - mine did nothing all day despite firing every single turn from turn two - pah!

Two battalions of Legere with Swiss support head for the allies in the farm. Brigade generals point out some slacker! Perry plastics with GMB flags, painted by Barry Hill, based by me, need finishing by me! 
KGL redcoats marching through broken ground at the foot slopes of the ridge before heading on up to the narrow plateau. The base of the Church can be seen top left.
Victrix toys by Barry Hill, TSS hills, PMC  building, PFW broken ground, SNFU by Rich.
View of the attack on the farm from the defenders point of view. Yes I'm still using Prussian light cavalry until the French ones are ready. More interesting is the blackboard showing vital club information - either it's the seating plan for the Christmas meal, or one of Tony's crazed scenarios. lastly it could be a new strain of DNA Rich has cooked up in the lab, possibly his plans to vaccinate against B.O. and farting among competition players on Sunday mornings!
Soap and corks anyone?   Perry foot, Calpe Cav by Prof Pender.

Soon the KGL reinforcements arrived on the rear ridge  - namely more KGL battalions including rifle armed lights plus 24 Light Dragoons. These were all heading for the farm with the cavalry placed to have a go at mine - puny fools! This show of force obviously meant Rich felt perfectly safe over by the church as Chris was climbing up the steep slope very slowly with his sharp shooting skirmishers already "up top" taking pot shots at anyone who popped out of the church! Luckily Rich's gunners couldn't hit jack so Chris remained fairly unmolested. The same could not be said down on the farm. My Columns finally launched a charge only to be ripped apart by closing volleys. The elite Legere withered the storm and made it in but the Swiss turned tail in full retreat. The resulting melee went my way - but only just. The KGL were pushed back only  rally on the spot. The winning Legere milled about trying to reform after the melee so were unable to occupy the position, aaaaaaaaaaarrrrgh!!!

Saxon Horse Battery bombards the Redcoats holding the Church.
Perry minis painted by Prof Pender, based by me.
Wurtemburg infantry line out to take on the beastly KGL on the ridge. Gratuitous German on German action!
 Falcon Figures, painted by prior owner Barry Hill, GMB flags, based by me.

Another unexpectedly excellent shot like last week. Brigadier oversees deployment of the allied counter attack through the corn fields towards the farm. Toys from Rich's collection.

Subsequent turns saw the French fail to actually get into the farm and pressure mount on them from the tide of enemies converging on the farm. This meant their attack turned into a holding action. Luckily the Swiss were rallied and frog-marched back to help out - no pun intended!

Retreating Swiss are rallied by their Brigade general. Note the wrong command stand has crept into this unit.
  By now Chris had two battalions up on the plateau and was getting ready to storm the church whilst keeping the enemy's supporting units busy with skirmish and canon fire plus the menacing Wurtemburg line! However his first assault party were repulsed, only just, but it was enough. The second battalion, Bavarian,  found itself in a fracas with a KGL column and came out worst. This rather spelt the end for what looked like a well staged attack by Chris. I think he blames me for this!

The allied defenders of the ridge at San Christobel. Two battalions of Kings German Legion plus a Royal Horse Artillery battery. Front Rank guns and crew, Victrix redcoats? All by Barry Hill, WIP basing by Rich.

Back at the farm the Legere had formed line in the cover of the farmyard and awaited the counter assault by the Light Infantry who seemed content the trade shots for a while. This killed time and a few Frenchmen while the Light Dragoons sorted out a charge on the Death Wish Hussars.

Redcoats massing for the counter attack - Victrix again, Barry Hill brush work, nearly based...

KGL Light Dragoons wind themselves up for a charge.
Front Rank painted by Barry Hill.

As the game reached it's climax the Dragoons clashed with the Hussars on the extreme French left/allied right. The Hussars threw a double 1 for melee and were routed with massive casualties. The Dragoons maintained perfect discipline and charged the exposed flank of the Legere who attempted to retreat. There was no escape from the rampant Dragoons - the Legere were caught in the flank while retreating! Rich threw double six for melee which in this case terminated the Legere and French chances of taking the farm. We called it a big win for Rich. The picture below shows the final position despite my shaking hands!

Note fleeing Hussars at bottom left!

  Another great game with lots of drama ending with a ball crunching cavalry charge to roll up the flank! You can't ask for more than that in a wargame can you?

Splendid allied cavalry commander. What ever happened to tiger skin saddles?
Perry mini - unsure of the painter.

Less splendid Brigadier blowing his nose.  Bless you Sir!

Brigadier and staff - no nose blowing here thankfully.
My beloved Snapdragon lump! The best rocky out crops ever made, ever, ever, ever. 
Last words are to thanks Chris and Rich for an easy going and enjoyable game again and Barry Hilton for a good scenario. Tony returns next week and we play a scenario of Rich's devising, some kind of rearguard action involving Russians and my hapless Prussians v lots of French cavalry. Looking forward to it already.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

La Iglesia de San Christobal

No not where I went on hols this year, that was Denmark! La Iglesia de San Christobel is a fictional encounter between French and British forces in the Spanish Peninsular by Barry Hilton for the Victrix rules he has penned. Following our theme of "line versus column" and still dabbling with skirmisher rules in General de Brigade I set the table up as Mr Hilton outlined. A few feet were added to allow for a cavalry regiment or two on each side. What appealed about this scenario is that the British are forced to attack both a ridge and dense terrain, not something you usually see.

Tony took up the Marshall's baton as French C-in-C with me as idiot sub general. Rich lined up his redcoats and light Dragoons for the attack. Tony gave me the holding forces whilst he would enter the table later to reinforce my position. All of Rich's Brits were on from the outset. This time I remembered the camera but largely forgot how to use it, so once again please excuse a few blurry shots; imagine it's that hazy sunshine you get in Spain at lunchtime when only you and a mad dog are outside. You will also have to imagine that our North European scenery is sun bleached central Spain - you didn't think you could just read this and not do any work did you? Bah!

The battlefield around La Iglesia de San Christobel.
By squinting at the photo you will see the through the hazy sunshine the southern end of the battlefield from behind the British right flank. At this stage the British are about to scale the ridge where the French have already deployed a four gun battery and two battalions to support the smaller forces well ensconced in the church itself. The slopes to the Church are steep and the rocky outcrop impassable, the top of the ridge is level. In the immediate foreground is the sunken road this brigade marched in along. Rich attached his foot battery to this brigade. In the center are the orange groves then walled olive groves, each festooned with voltigeurs. The settlement in the distance is a farm which counted as cover. One small battalion of Swiss manned the defenses here. The French reinforcements entered on the high ground to the east of the
The forces were small but that almost concentrates the mind more - yeah right, wheres the beer?

The British
1st Brigade 4 x 40 foot with 2 squadrons of Light Dragoons attached
2nd Brigade 2 x 40 foot with 9lb foot battery attached
3rd Brigade 2 squadrons of Light Dragoons with RHA battery attached

The French
Initial garrison;
1st Brigade
1 x 24  line in La Iglesia de San Christobel
Deployed behind the ridge of La Iglesia de San Christobel were 2 x 36 line and 8lb foot battery of 4 guns

2nd Brigade
1 x 24 Swiss in the farm with 2 x 6 skirmishers in the groves nearby.

Arriving on turn two anywhere on the eastern heights with the C-in-C and a brigadier was the 3rd Brigade
2 x 36 line and 1x 36 2nd class line
1 x 24 Hussars
The Swiss battalion deployed in the cover of the farmstead.
Much was expected of them - could they deliver?
Perry plastics painted by Barry Hill.
GW fences, PMC buildings,  S&A Trees. Basing by me.
British or KGL Light Dragoons screening the advance of the lines on the British left.  Bendy sabres anyone?
Front Rank painted by Barry Hill. WIP basing by Rich.
Unexpectedly excellent shot of French staff observing the British advance, presumably marvelling at the discipline of the Brit abroad. Not sure what the curious bump on Rich's arm is? Never noticed it before! Perry toys.
"Smoke on the water - a firing line in the sky!"
A 40 strong line about to put some holes in the Swiss - "FIRE LADS"
French Brigadier and ADC by Perry twins, painted by Barry Hill, tarted up and based by me 
A brief interlude to introduce "La Grande Fromage"
A couple of shots of my present French Commander in Chief. Eventually he will command a Corps of two infantry Divisions, one French, one Italian and a light cavalry Brigade. This will be approx 10 battalions, two foot batteries, two light cavalry regiments, one Italian, one French plus a horse battery.

My other Corps commander will handle also two divisions, one Bavarian, one French with a similar light cavalry brigade and batteries.
Attached to these two Corps is my Heavy Cavalry Division comprising two Westphalian Regiments, two Saxon Regiments, one Polish and a horse battery. I have this lot but really need to base them and put a large enough game to get them all out.          

This splendid gentleman and entourage are by Front Rank and painted by Perry Pender with tarty final touches and basing by myself. This is ace!  
British officers ride around exalting the men to shoot straighter as the Swiss still hold out despite horrific casualties.
The picture above epitomizes the problem on the British left as the Swiss simply wouldn't budge from the farm despite an awful battering. British forces began to bypass the farm and line out in the open ground after the screening Dragoons ran off in the face of determined French fire. Here is where we will see how the red lines handle massed blue attacks...

A British battalion makes its way around the farm through orange and olive groves ( try to imagine it) which are bristling with enemy skirmishers. These pesky skirmishers didn't cause a single casualty although they held up and momentarily diverted the attentions of this unit. This in turn took pressure off the Swiss holding out in the farm.
Maybe we can make these skirmisher guys work after all?
By now French reinforcements were streaming down from the eastern ridge and formed a massed column of three battalions heading straight for the now deployed first line of Redcoats. A regiment of French hussars swung south to support the meager French forces on the ridge of  La Iglesia de San Christobel. This proved a timely move as they charged the flank of some allied Dragoons who were attempting to slip around the French position on the ridge by the church. The Dragoons fled from this charge and routed from the field taking the Royal Horse Artillery battery with them. However the Hussars in turn didn't fancy chasing them off so decided to dick about on the plain safely out harms way. In fairness their job was done, for without the Dragoons to threaten the French flank or rear the Brits were literally walking up hill into a storm of canister and musketry unsupported. 
"Have a taste of your own medicine monsieur". This precipitated the end of any offensive moves in the south by either side. The French foot and cannon held the ridge with the church on it, the Hussars were happy to watch from the center and the British were driven back to the safety of the sunken road.

All that was left to play out was the fate of Swiss and the attack of the massed French in the North. Finally the Swiss reached 50% casualties and were set to disperse - but wait - I rolled a double six! 
In General de Brigade this means the Battalion marches off with full honours and shouldered arms while everyone claps and cheers! This seemed most fitting as they really had endured a hell of time - their personal misguided loyalty to me will be recorded in the regimental log. As the Swiss marched off the British marched in and sampled the local brandy at some considerable length.   

So, to the main event. The massed French columns charged the line, two faltered or halted so failed to close. But the third made it in with the bayonet through short range volley fire, Hurray! No way, bugger this,  it was the 2nd class battalion that charged home. We fought the combat, the British line wavered - then retreated back through the next line which amazingly kept its formation. The winning French battalion stood where it was, waving, shouting and gesticulating until the fresh 40 strong British line fired a volley at short range and tore them a new hole. This sent the whole brigade packing and signaled the end of hostilities at La Iglesia de San Christobel. 

A brief discussion unanimously awarded a draw as both sides had lost brigades and both held one objective.
Another good game, thanks to Rich, Tony and to Barry Hilton for the inspiration for the scenario.    

The Prussian Death Wish Hussars pretending to be French until the new French models are ready.
Calpe models painted by Prof Pender, based by me.