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.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Big Christmas game - The Battle of Strelitz 1813. Part 1.

It's traditional for the Marauders to stage a Christmas game - it's a good opportunity to spend a day together   messing about with toys and have a good laugh. On a more serious note it is also too good an opportunity to leave to chance so plenty of planning is required. This year I undertook that task with some relish. The tables at Triple Helix were booked from 10 am to 10pm 27th December 2011. The previous week Tony and I met at our club and set up the table, our usual 16 x 6 feet. We both drew maps and took lots of piccies to make sure we reset it correctly on the day...

The field from the south west with Bavarian and allied Brigades deploying to
attack  Strelitz on the right. 
We decided that we should use all of my French against a comparable Russian army chosen by Tony from his collection. This amounted to about 20 x 36 battalions of varying grades, circa 20 guns and 6 regiments of cavalry mostly about 24 strong, plus clouds of skirmishers. We kept it sensible as we had to get in and out in 12 hours and get a result. Rich was away on hols so Tony, Chris and I would have to muddle through ourselves.

Looking north east over Strelitz in the foreground. Russians massing in the southern ,
central and northern sectors ready to attack.
In order to help the game along I stipulated that all forces must be deployed on the table from the outset and quite far forward, the Russians about 18 inches on - the French about 12. I also decided every formed infantry unit and every cavalry unit over 20 strong would begin with 1d6 minus 3 casualties on the roster. This turned out to be very effective and something we will repeat. General de Brigade players will soon realise the significance of this...  

Looking north west from behind the northern section of the Russian centre from the plateau towards the plain flooding with French horsemen. Russian cavalry massing on the right. That road was Chris's objective - gulp!

Upon arrival we slapped down the scenery and deployed the armies in accordance with our pre-formulated plans. Here the fog of war crept in. I put down some vital villages in the wrong position by about a foot. Tony took this as an error in the Imperial Russian Topographical Department and just got on with it.
What a true gent that man is!  

Russian Uhlans and Dragoons move onto the plains to counter the French cavalry threat to the northern flank.
This would be mega.

The objectives for both sides were the same. Control the two main stretches of road across the board. This gave us all a reason to get stuck in. One ran along the northern end of the plateau at the bottom of the escarpment, the other diagonally across the southern sector between three villages including Strelitz, which lends its name to this fictitious battle.

We also agreed that one couldn't merely sit on the road but had to actually "control it" - that meant thinking about what features overlook it and what stages along the road are important. Victory would be discussed at the end. This may sound arbitrary and woolly, and it is. We are all old enough and ugly enough to do this.

French and German heavies with hussars and Guard Lancers with two horse batteries confront the fewer but much
 larger Russian regiments of Dragoons and Uhlans with their own horse guns.
Both sides decided to deploy substantial cavalry on the northern plain where the level farmland and lack of much woodland or urban terrain lent itself to a BIG hook across the table to capture the far end of the road from each other.   

Saxon elite heavies - the Garde de Corps.
Lithuanian Uhlans from Sievers cavalry. These proved harder than the Guard Lancers EVER imagined.
Seivers "leads" his Dragoons forward to confront the French and German horse on the plain.   
Down south near Strelitz Tony massed a dense block of columns to assault and then hold the village. Opposite a Brigade of Bavarians and Wurtemburgers had the same idea. The Russians got there first as jaegers penetrated the narrow streets and lined the walls to harass the advancing Bavarians. Both sides had supports; the French had another Brigade of four battalions protecting the flank plus a foot battery. The Russians turned up with a regiment of 32 elite Cuirassiers and a horse battery - bollocks.    
Superbly painted Russian line regiment in greatcoats. This unit is advancing along the ridgeline on the southern escarpment of the plateau.
The centre was basically up on the plating. This represented an area of raised farmland complete with drainage and irrigation ditches plus two large rocky outcrops to make things interesting. 

Chris and I used the narrow end of this to link our forces - always a vulnerable point. I paced the unreliable Italians here with their 12lb foot battery. One Italian battalion stayed in the village at the foot of the hillside to anchor the position. Chris deployed some of his infantry up here and some on the road in the north. He too had a foot battery. 

Another Battalion in greatcoats moving towards the suburbs of Strelitz. These look like grizzled veterans to me...
Opposite us on the plateau Tony put three Brigades with a two 6 gun 12lb foot batteries. Mercifully they seemed to have objectives which pulled them in intemperate directions; north, south and west. Luckily the boys heading west, ie towards me were militia. Although against my Italians anything could happen.

Frustratingly Tony led his attack here with a few cossacks. Those people are soooooooooo annoying.
He also had some rather fine Hussars here.  

The locals hang out patriotic colours from a bygone age to welcome the liberators. Russian Jaeger and line enter Strelitz .

Russian battalions with divisional cavalry support from these hussars move across the plateau under their general's eye.

The Novgorod Cuirassiers head for the French guns on the high ground overlooking Strelitz as more and more Russian columns press into the town. Really excellent command vignette by Tony. 

Fine and Dandy fellows from Italy. The Milan Civic Guard attack a basket of potatoes and prove victorious.
I need to organise a quiet few nights in just basing these and many others. 

If looks could kill - check out the left hand guy - stare him down if you can.
 Cossacks by Tony, from Front Rank.
Russian heavy metal supports the attack. Note Snapdragon tree stump wood, one of many fine peices around the table.

Oh grief, Duka sends the Novgorod into battle, one of the pivotal actions in the south, for all the wrong reasons!

German allies threaten Strelitz. With the supporting brigade behind this pitted 7 French & allied battalions with artillery support against fewer Russians with only half a horse battery. Should be a walk in the park.
Obviously I hadn't counted on the Novgorod Cuirassiers turning up to play in this sector! 

View from the East of the Russian centre on the plateau. Cavalry action unfolding to the north.  

Russian Dragoons in line.

The Regimental Colonel signals the attack - Urrah!
A splendid sight by Tony, note steel sword.

French and Allied cavalry mix it up in fast moving melee and manoeuvre against their Russian counterparts.

My Polish and Westphalian heavy cavalry command - Regiments almost finished! Both Front Rank.

Nice arse. Guard Lancers from behind. Front Rank toys from my collection.
Not everything went the Frenchies way. The Dutch "Red Lancers" of the Guard dusted off their weapons and decided to show everyone just how this cavalry melee malarchy should be done. They duly chased off into the Lithuanian Uhlans, a humble line cavalry regiment. We hardly dared look as the Russians counter-charged, both sides passed the tests and collided with a cacophony of terrified horses and snapping lances. This was going to be ugly for the Lithuanians - surely. Not so! The plucky Baltic buggers fought like demons - only a draw saved the Guard lancers from being run over! There would be some unflattering press in the morning for them. What would Boney say?      

Brace for impact!

The cavalry battle was everything we had hoped for - very big, very fast moving & very unpredictable. However with almost every contact the Russians were pushed back again and again. A Saxon regiment, Garde de Corps, overthrew Dragoons out numbering them by 2 - 1! With horses blown the Saxons withdrew only for the next regiment, the Saxon von Zastrow Cuirassiers, to step up and carry on the attack; not letting the Russians pause for breath or regroup.  

Saxon Garde de Corps charging Russian Dragoons. Perry toys from my collection.

Russian Dragoons charge Saxon Garde de Corps. Foundry by Tony.  

Everyone is sent forward to swing the tide - properly based or not.

9th Hussars with staff officer - from my stable. 

New arrivals. The 5th Hussars painted for me by Tony Lawton of the Generals Bivouac. Perry plastics.
I still need to finish the horses and base these. 

Elite company troopers of the 5th Hussars, details as above.

Saxon heavy cavalry generals by Front Rank. Painted by Perry Pender, based by me for me. 

Saxon Horse artillery support the Heavy cavalry attack. A really busy & beautifully painted battery.  

Close up of the same battery, one of my faves.

The Russians brought along Horse artillery as well. These are Elite Miniatures painted by Pete Morbey of Elite.
Based by Tony. 

5th and 9th Hussars trotting forward. Again I need to finish basing these. 

Finally only one Russian Regiment remained to stem the tide. Literally all others were overwhelmed and scattered.
French and Saxon Cuirassiers bare down on them with artillery support.   
As I take a break from this report here is the vital situation in the north. The Russian cavalry are spent and put to flight. The French and their allies have suffered very few casualties comparatively. Now they must consolidate this success; regroup and take the end of the road. If unchecked they could encircle the whole Russian centre with 6 regiments of cavalry and two horse batteries. Well played Chris - it really as a sight to behold. Tactical genius? Nah! Jammy as usual.

Better call back to see what unfolded next.     


  1. Wow, What a cracking looking game with inspiring figures!!!

    Superb all round, and very nice pics too!

  2. I am really amazed! that is a great game with amazing collections! I hope one day to be able to field half of what you guys fielded in this game!

    keep it up!

  3. Thanks for your kind words and interest. Hopefully part two will be up this weekend...