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.

Monday, 23 December 2013

New Generals and staff - Russian and Austrian

We completed the Ratzinger game on night two - Chris and Tony both thoroughly enjoyed it, I less so but for no special reason. I have some pictures of it to post later. Since then we have played a three week engagement involving 50 units per side on our new "even bigger table than ever" - it was mega and saw the first outing for my Austrians alongside Chris's. The fictional Battle of Pedamonte in 1809 deserves proper coverage and will get it. In other news Tony has finally written up the Russian account of Borodino played in 2012, this I will combine with Rich's diatribe and post next year, 2014 along with many piccies of the four day game which bled us dry.

My new Austrians have various Generals some of which I snapped for you below. The Russian ones are from my Russian Guard who also put in an appearance at Pedmonte, you didn't know the Russian Guard Corps was involved with Austria in northern Italy in 1809 did you?

Austrian officers by Front Rank ignoring Victrix infantry.
Officers by Tony Laughton, foot by Barry Hill, based by me. 

Austrian officers by Front Rank ignoring Victrix infantry.
Officers by Tony Laughton, foot by Barry Hill, based by me. 

Splendid Austrian Uhlan and Hussar officers alongside Elite Miniatures Russian Uhlans.
Painting by Tony Laughton and Ian Hinds respectively.
These two dandies are from the Austrian Hussar and Uhlan regiments I am getting painted next year. 

Austrian Cuirassier officers from Connoisseur on Front Rank horses. I love that crest, a regiment of those would look awesome on Elite Miniatures heavy horses..... now that's tempting.
Austrian heavies from Elite Miniatures - all by Tony Laughton, based by me for me! 

"Hi Oncle Kurt!"

Elite Miniatures heavy cavalry officers inspect passing Victrix foot by Barry Hill. Mounted chaps by Tony Laughton. 

Our present C-in-C.
These three amazing models are from Front Rank and superbly painted by Tony Laughton for my Russian Guard Corps. Chris and I based them. I want something similar for the Austrian C-in-C.

Russian officers by Front Rank, Tony Laughton brush work, Chris and I basing.
The detailing on the pompom is immaculate. 

This chaps a "Bally Hero" and I'll kill any man who says otherwise!

Totally inspiring Russian Guard officers from Front Rank, painting and unfinished basing as above.
Warlord plastic infantry with GMB flags and Bicorne finials - not shown - painted by Barry Hill - the best stuff he's ever done for me!  
It's been a great year for gaming at Marauder HQ. We have penetrated the General de Brigade rules more than ever and begun to distill how we want to play. This has been a bit intense at times because there are four of us with differing/changing needs from the hobby. It must be tough to get competetive with someone who won't "fight back" and sometimes it's tough to enjoy the "theatre and the spectacle" of the game with your face down in the dirt and a lance through your neck! Luckily we are longstanding friends first and foremost. We have other common interests such as boozing and carousing, booze and food, booze and live music and sometimes just booze all on its own. This stands us in great stead when the dust settles. We always have a proper fat belly laugh when we play - it really is all about us and only us.

Enlarging the board in depth has been a total game changer for me. By still allowing for off table reserves and late arrivers or flankers it's huge. We play over a table surface area of 160 square feet - that pleases me and gives us a whole new avenue to explore next year. The Pedamonte report will expand on how this looks and offers immediate advantages to gameplay. Why we didn't do this earlier I'll never know, maybe we're just plain dumb or bone idle (or both?).

2014 has to see me finish the painting schedule I have set and basically not buy new toys - I may even sell a few items that don't quite fit with my collection. I hope to round off my Prussians, Austrians, Italians, Portuguese and Poles, I have three painters lined up and a fat budget  to do this, it doesn't stretch to a new period though - no distractions please. Hopefully more pictures of toys for you next year. I want to keep basing and I have a few plans for more scenery projects which I always enjoy. Hopefully I'll blog more often too. I'd like to  create some photo presentations of entire armies as a whole and unit by unit too. A road trip or weekend away possibly at the Wargames Holiday Centre would be fun and give an incentive to keep getting even bigger.

Most of all I want to keep playing big Napoleonic games with Rich, Tony and Chris - boys, you inspire me.


Saturday, 14 December 2013

Building more redoubts

I needed a little project as endless basing was losing its attraction and I can't see to paint anymore really, hence the army of skilled mercenary brushmasters who help me out for a fee. However I like building stuff so two more redoubts seemed like a good idea. Lots of horse and musket games need such positions so they can always sneak in somewhere.

Having written a very well received post on building the Grand Redoubt for our Borodino game I can only refer you to that if you want the "how to" stuff as I used the exact same method and materials for these two babies - obviously smaller place mats! There's a link to the tutorial post near the bottom of the page under "popular post".

My two new redoubts finished and ready for action. Might dry brush the grass a little otherwise done.

The interior showing the firing platform and hasty plank work.

Aerial shot - resin gabions. 

More hasty plank work detail - very pleased with these!

Russian horse artillery manning the position.

Same battery different angle.

Size comparison alongside the Grand Redoubt which takes 6 x 12lb guns and has wolf pits.   

Same again different angle.

Same again with dead French people on the parapet. 
This project was great fun and remarkably quick to complete. Like the Grand Redoubt modelling project it is vital to let everything dry between phases – this just means being mature about it rather than charging ahead and messing things up.

Now we just need a scenario requiring two spanking new redoubts and that’s no hardship, any ideas?  

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Setting up the Battles around the Ratzinger Crossings 1809

We've been playing lots of General de Brigade games recently, many of these have been intensely "picky" as we explore the rules and try to get them right. This isn't actually important to the enjoyment of the game in my view but we may as well try to understand how author Dave Brown sees things! That said this game is about trialing a house rule and playing with greater depth than before.

This whole "depth" issue has also been trialed in recent games, frankly without a satisfactory outcome. We played down the length of the board and across it with imaginary rear areas but without really adding anything of great value and only ensuring we struggled to finish and failed to maneuver in any meaningful manner.

The question of depth has vexed us - in short we like 28mm games so we have to compromise on table surface space versus unit foot print. Basically our board is too shallow to adequately allow for deployment in depth, on table reserves and lateral movement behind the lines which we want to see in our games. Clearly it's a big table but we want more (like spoiled brats aren't we?).

Having finished one set of games we decided to set up a back board running in parallel to the main table - see below. There was only space for a 12' x 3' but it's a start! We may try to do 12' x 2' on both sides if this works out. This allows some rear echelon action; movement of reserves, late arrivers, artillery parks and lateral marching to redeploy behind the front lines. It also means more space to fight over as we fully envisage charging and shooting over the gap as if it didn't exist.

The Battlefield around the Ratzinger crossings set up for our next game. You're looking south east.
The main table is 16' x 6' with the back board at the French rear measuring 12' x 3'.

Now looking north east.
The white stones outline the four  Austrian entry points, one per road and one at the pontoons in the north west.  

Looking from behind the French centre south west.  

Looking almost due west over the high ground from behind the French centre.

Middle sector of the French rear areas.

Looking north west.
The blue stones mark out the furthest forward extent of French deployment. 

Initial deployments. The objective is to control the river crossings, i.e. the three bridges. Austrian reserve formations are still off table. Some French reserves are on the rear board.

Three Austrian brigade columns head toward the bridges. The light cavalry cross the pontoons way off to the north.
The French will get to the bridges first I think. Opposed river crossings - piss easy!

Rapid Fire - Trialing an amendment long range artillery fire

As already state we are using this game to trial a small amendment to the General de Brigade artillery rules. Basically we have moaned a bit about the ineffectiveness of long range fire. I expect the rules are entirely accurate and the correct course would be to spend more turns shooting up a target rather than dashing off to attack the nearest thing at top speed - but we are wargamers and that means moving and fighting not hours of bombardment!

In the General de Brigade rules the number of casualties inflicted is halved for long range fire. Fine. Any unmodified roll of a double 1 for artillery fire indicates the battery has run low on ammo. Excellent rule.

My idea is to allow a battery which is not itself under fire in the current turn, nor within charge reach of enemy nor within 12" of friendly routers to Rapid Fire. This simply means that the gunners work overtime (in relative safety) and put more rounds on the ground than normal. The effect is to negate the halving of casualties at long range.

For every up side there must be a down side, in this case the battery runs low on ammo on the unmodified roll of any double not just a double one. This represents the unusually high expenditure of ammo. The decision to Rapid Fire therefore involves a risk against the pay-off of higher casualties.

We have always allowed a house rule where batteries low on ammo can be resupplied by caissons travelling to the rear and back to the battery. With the groovy back board we can have an artillery park complete with ammo supplies - hurray!

We played a few turns of the game with comical artillery results. Chris's first two rolls were double ones - out of ammo, and my foot battery was driven off the table by enemy musket fire. Hopeless. We are no closer to seeing how this amendment might work out.

As the game gets fully under way I'll post a report and more piccies as usual.

And finally some new toys to look at...

A debut shot of some new Austrian staff - finally. These are front Rank painted by Tony Laughton. Fuzzy shot, oops!

Elite Miniatures heavy cavalry officers watching the foot sloggers head for certain death...

Saxon horse battery on the move. Perry minis painted by Perry Pender. 

Gloriously glossy Austrian Kurassiers!
Elite Miniatures painted by Tony Laughton for my collection - based by me!

Very very pretty Austrian Dragoons - details as above.

Call back to see how the Battle at the Ratzinger Crossings unfolds.
Be good, Jeremy

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Montmiral 1814 - Napoleon leads the Old Guard to certain victory... what could possibly go wrong?

So Montmiral is our second game of the weekend.

We four merry Marauders dragged our carcasses up from the grave into the sunshine on the Sunday morning. Rich in particular needed powerful necromantic spells to stir his body into half life - a state which barely left him all day. Oh the joys of power drinking!

Tony cooked breakfast and brewed fresh coffee - thank you Sir. Then it was straight into it - the horrors of war beckoned us to back to the table-top.

Starting positions

The French positions at the start.
From the left;- Ricard in Tremblay, Friant with the Guard, Guyot & Nansouty with 3 cavalry regiments each.
Reinforcements due to arrive in the centre, more Guard foot and Guard cavalry too!

This is the map I based the game on. One square equals one foot although I added  a foot at each end because we have the space and we didn't want to be cramped for room. Troops deployed as per the map; often very close so the action erupted on turn one - blood everywhere!     
The scenario was once again chosen from Fields of Glory by Chris Leach & Arty Conliffe - a very good source of ideas and flawlessly conceived games to play off the shelf. If you can find it buy it. we played the battle straight from the book. Victory conditions were based around taking and holding objectives forcing an aggressive game on both sides. Various conditions limited early moves for some formations and both sides had late arrivers too.

Unlike the Vimiero game I only gave the generals the maps, objectives and deployments on the morning so everything was done quickly and on the hoof. This was designed to reflect the real situation as the Emperor came upon a surprised Sacken strung out along the road and attacked with the troops he had i.e. The Guard and lots of cavalry. once the troops were down the CinC's sketched a plan, issued orders and went for it.


Friant with the powerful Old Guard division facing off the Russians of Sass in and around Les Genereux.
Guyot's cavalry protect the infantry's right flank from Vassilshikov's Russian cavalry opposite.

Jeepers - there are over 230 cavalry in this shot, with more to come...
Time for an equestrian mosh pit of epic proportions.
Chris is writing orders; he holds Fontonelle with Pirsch II's Prussians and controls Vassilshikov's Russian cavalry.   

The Old Guard infantry with 12lb foot battery complete with limber and caisson vignette.
The Emperor and Friant are surrounded by ADC's and fusspots.
The OG foot are to take Les Genereux from Sass's Russians opposite.

Believe it or not that's The Emperor Napoleon the morning after...
Tallitzen's Russians near the woods prepare to set off on a right hook to assault Le Tremblay held by Ricard.
Marchais (with the barrels) is held by Scherbatov with Bernodossov behind him. There's a lot of Russian strength here. 

The scene from behind the Russian centre.
That's Scherbatov straddling the road; Sass in and around Les Genereux with Lieven in support; the akkied C-in-C Sacken must be here somewhere too. The massed Russian cavalry are under Vassilshikov. Pirch ll is garrisoning Fontenelle top left with his Prussians.

Slightly fuzzy shot of Vassilshikov's Russian Cavalry comprising 24 Uhlans, 24 Hussars and 32 Cuirassiers.
Opposite are 6 regiments of French cavalry some of it Guard heavies.
This is Pirch's position in Fontonelle. His 4 Prussian battalions are represented by Russians, the foot battery is British.
When the two regiments of Prussian light cavalry arrive to support him they will of course be Austrian.
Basically I totally forgot to pack the Prussians - bell end!  
The forces involved;-

The Allies ( Russians except Pirch II)

C-in-C Sacken

Scherbatov. 5 x 32 line, 12lb foot battery with 6 guns.
Tallitzen. 5 x 32 line, 12lb foot battery with 6 guns.
Bernodossov. 4 x 32 line.
Lieven. 4 x 32 line.
Sass. 5 x 32 line, 12lb foot battery with 6 guns.
Vassilshikov. 24 Uhlans, 24 Hussars, 32 Cuirassiers.
Pirch II. 4 x 32 line, 8lb foot battery with 4 guns, 24 Uhlans, 24 Hussars.

A solid and stolid infantry force with strong artillery with a little cavalry.

No hanging around, both sides hurtle forward to their objectives. Guard heavies and dragoons are already in melee with Russian Uhlans and Hussars. 
The French

C-in-C Napoleon.

Friant. 3 x 32 Guard, 4 x 32 Elite, 12lb foot battery with 4 guns.
Ricard. 2 x 36 Line, 2 x 36 2nd Class, 8lb foot battery with 4 guns.
Nansouty. 32 Guard Heavies, 24 Cuirassiers, 24 Hussars, Horse battery with 3 guns.
Guyot. 24 Dragoons, 2 x 24 Chasseur a Cheval.
Michel. 1 x 32 Guard, 1 x 32 Elite.
Defranc. 1 x 32 Chasseur a Cheval of the Guard, 1 x 24 Polish Guard Lancers.

Basically most of the very best infantry toys with some very very flash cavalry kit as well! All led by the Emperor on home ground. Vive la gloire!!!

Guard horse artillery deploy behind screening hussars ready to bombard Fontenelle manned by Pirch's Prussians.

"The Grumblers" walk into a wall of cannister from Sass and manage to screen their own artillery support.

Tallitzen whips around the woods to assault Ricard's flank through the woods.
This proved to be a big surprise for the French. 

Scherbatov moves out of Marchais to assault Ricards boys in Le Tremblay.
Bernodossov moves forward from the rear to take hold of Marchais. 

Fuzzy shot of the allied right - looks pretty good for Sacken's boys right now. 

Russian Cuirassiers wait at the rest while their light cavalry take on the French heavies.
Good to see both sides keeping some reserves.

Turn 3 and Michel has arrived with more Guard infantry and on turn 4 Defranc rocks up with newly painted Chasseur a cheval of the Guard and Polish Guard Lancers.
The cavalry are Front Rank with Bicorne Miniatures Mamluks and Elite generals all by Tony Laughton for Rich.
We all know what happens to new toys in their first battle don't we...    

BANG on time Pirch's Prussian/Austrian cavalry arrive.
Splendid Foundry fellows - more details further down. 

The Russian Hussars and Uhlans are thrown back but not broken so the Russian Cuirassiers charge the  French heavies before they can fully recover from the melee - ie both of my regiments were caught stationary. Oh deary me! 

Everything kicks off back at Le Tremblay as Russian attacks go in with two batteries firing in support - text book.
The French Old Guard totally give up on any chance of artillery support by blocking them - not text book.
BUT notice how a single Guard battalion has evicted the Russians from Les Genereux and nipped in sharpish. 

Tallitzen goes in but fails to close on the artillery in the flank allowing a respite - phew. 

Same action different angle.
Everyone hates that green roof except me.

There are now over 330 cavalry in the this sector.  Not much more to say really - it's just a number!

Some debut performances at Montmiral

Old Guard Lancers led by Defranc.
Front Rank lancers ,Elite Miniatures generals - all painted by Tony Laughton for Rich who based them.

Scharzenburg's Uhlans standing in as Prussians.
Foundry models painted by Tony Laughton for Chris who based them.

Hessen Homburg Hussars standing in as Prussians. (not new but too pretty to miss out).
Foundry models painted by Tony Laughton for Chris who based them.

Bicorne Mamluks on Front Rank Horses. Basically I have always wanted these boys so when Rich announced that he had 24 Chasseur a cheval of the Guard from Front Rank I got 8 of these to form the last squadron bringing the regiment up to a respectable strength of 32.         

Tony Laughton painted these, I gave them to Rich for basing to match his collection where they now reside.
I am a truly great friend to have - proper A list.

Rich also made the horse tail banner. These are so colourful even by Napoleonic standards that I had to have them. When I get  more shots I 'll post them. 
Back to the battle now please... 

An embarrassing moment as the French Cuirassiers get flank charged by allied lights as they fall back from melee with the Russian Cuirassiers. The allied Uhlans also beat the French Guard lancers and have pushed them back too.
Sacre bleu! 

Closer in than the above shot.
It's all going tits up.

The tiresomely victorious Austrian light cavalry - real giant slayers!

You can't have enough French chasseurs a cheval.
Kit bashed Perry plastics painted by Barry Hill for Rich who based them.

A good panoramic shot along the battlefield.
Generals engage in an unseemly struggle for extra factors - desperate stuff indeed.
Bad Brains are a US rasta punk band from Washington DC - seen them a few times!
(Bad Brains is also the state of Rich's head that day). 

The Russians still haven't got though the woods and still haven't flank charged the luckiest battery of 1814! 

You want a winning smile too? Just drink seven bottle of real ale, a can of coke and eat a crap sandwich from the co-op.
The arrow points to the shitter. 

Russian Guard Hussars standing in as line cavalry today.
Kit bashed Perry plastic hussars with Warlord plastic Russian grenadier heads.
Built and based by me, painted by Barry Hill. 

More of the same, only 24 of the 32 shown here.

Russian Cuirassiers at rest, Front Rank models painted by Tony Laughton for me.
That's me in the red top - no idea how I photographed myself?!!!?

The badly outnumbered allied cavlary have basically annihilated my larger better quality kit - shameful!

The French right contracting under the pressure - Fontonelle was never really in any danger from me at all.

Fierce fighting in the centre, Russian attacks and counter attacks seem to be relentless and well supported by plentiful reserves. Nice work Sacken!

Old Guard gunners blink in disbelief as finally a target presents itself.
To the left Old Guard infantry have driven off the Russians attacking Tremblay. 

Naturally the defeated Polish Guard lancers retreated through the Guard Chasseurs unforming them.
"What a complete nonsense I made of this! Have me shot forthwith Sire!"

Action in the centre. I am being pushed backwards on to Rich - never a pleasant experience!

The Chasseurs a cheval of the Guard were destroyed by the charging Uhlans before the Guard Lancers finally worked out what their pointy sticks were for and destroyed the upstart allied light cavalry.
Too little too late - again.    

The French left at the close of play.
Russians evicted the French from Le Tremblay but couldn't make it count.
Old Guardsmen popped into hold it as Ricard's brigade retired from the field. 

The French right - me - desolate and defeated in detail.

The Russian centre at the close - strength in depth here.

Parting shot of the Russian centre.

Strangely enough the scenario victory conditions gave the French a win; apparently it was all about objectives so the total destruction of the French army except the Guard Foot division was irrelevant -
"Vive L'Empreur".
As Tony said while we packed up the toys "a true Pyrrhic victory."

As usual we had monumental fun and fought a very tense game in good humour with loads of pretty toys on a decent board - another day well spent and a truly memorable weekend.

My thanks go to Rich, Chris and Tony as well as Chris Leach for the scenarios. Hope you enjoyed this lot, feel free to comment, follow us and call back soon.