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 May 2014

Action on the River Vissen 1813 - Part 2

Hi again, we got straight back into the fighting this week, for a recap check out Part 1.

Well, nearly straight back into it, first a fine pint of Doombar at The Crown in Bathford. Both sides had a quick conflab about what to do next in the game. There were some obvious decisions to be made, where to press the attack? Where to hold back and where to let it build while more reinforcements arrived? Both sides had two further brigades arriving on the southern end this week.    

"Straight back into the Action"

Tony in action. Happy chappy.

Enough of the preamble and portraits. Here's what happened;-

"The case of the overly hostile reception committee."  

The Russian Grenadier Division (right) lines out to trade shots with the French reception committee. The grenadiers couldn't attack as their order change went wrong and they slipped from engage to hold! This was unfortunate as the French had a horse battery able canister the poor Russians. Meanwhile French skirmishers snuck into the woods on their flank and took potshots too. The lead Russian regiments took a hammering. One regiment opposite the cavalry formed square to anchor the flank.    

Chris soon tired of trading gunfire and sent in the Garde de Corps against the square, this proved very close but the heavy cavalry were driven off and all sighed with relief. The next turn saw the Pavlovski Grenadier Regiment break from prolonged fire, this caused a series of morale tests and things went down hill rapidly.  

With many Regiments retreating or faltering Chris sent in the Von Zastrow Cuirassiers who rode down the line with ease. At this panic spread like wildfire throughout the formation and off they went - just like that - all over.  

The Russian Grenadiers have fled leaving the north eastern sector in French hands. A triumph for combined arms against better numbers. The Saxon's horses were blown so they retired to their lines and rested. 

"The destruction of Army Group Centre."

I have always admired the drama in the above phrase so make no claim of authorship, it just vaguely fits. The events of last week saw Rich pin and outflank Tony's forces in the centre. As French light cavalry joined Rich's infantry things looked tougher still. This evening would see if Tony could pull something positive from the predicament or go down screaming. I guess we know what happened.

Rich's frontal attack had been roughly handled by 3 12lb guns and a line of jaeger, he even lost a battalion to a rout after being terribly mauled by canister fire, the other battalions kept on though. When the battery was outflanked and cut down it allowed two columns to charge the jaeger's line, one was stopped by fire but the other  made contact and dispersed the line, the resulting panic caused a general loss of nerve...

 ... just as a regiment of lancers charged into a retreating battalion who were also dispersed! Luckily the lancers retired to polish their brass helmets and wipe Russian blood from their lances. 

Most of this Russian formation is now either faltering, retreating or routing. A serious situation just got worse.

With only one functioning battalion left, (hidden in the village with the general), Tony decided to disperse what he had left as they were by now surrounded and had nowhere to run. This was deemed more honourable than surrender.
So once again we removed an entire Russian formation.  

With their mission accomplished Rich's French dust themselves off, regroup and get ready to move off again. 

The victorious lancers rally behind the lines.
Foundry models by Tony Laughton from my collection, pennants required.  

These Victrix French seem content to stand about chatting while the brigade receives fresh orders.

Time to move off again.
With so much space and far flung action there was genuinely room to maneuver in this battle. Several formations found themselves redeploying quite some way and we even saw some in columns of march - a rare sight in our games. Whilst desirable it meant Rich spent a few moves simply "moving".   

"Interlude - let me introduce some new toys."

I have taken delivery of three new Prussian batteries. I bought the models from Elite Miniatures as part of a large Christmas order I placed, they have an unmissable excellent seasonal discount scheme. I got Alan Tuckey of Blue Turkey painting service to paint them along with some Grenzers for my Austrian army. I love Elite's guns and crew, they are proper big canons and the crew seem to look very busy! My original Prussian batteries are by Foundry and just look small - they will be sold. This also gave me the opportunity to get a howitzer battery, just for fun as no one else has one yet. Here they are;-

Horse battery covering the river crossing.
Uhlans bring up the rear.

As mentioned these are Elite Miniatures, painted by Blue Turkey, based by me. 

6lb foot battery deployed near an orchard with Calpe caisson.
Distant French get enfiladed.
Q: Is "chocolate enfilade" rude? We decided it was but unsure why.  

Howitzer battey with Calpe limber, Foundry mounted officers oversee the fall of fire.
Guns and crew painted by Blue Turkey, teams by Perry Pender.

My original Elite Miniatures 12lb Prussian battery is painted by Pete Morbey, owner of Elite, it is very pretty but doesn't really fit in with these, I'll sell that one too and get Alan to paint me another to match these three batteries. That'll give me four Prussian batteries, enough to support the 25 -30 battalions and five cavalry regiments for now. The horse battery has four guns so can double as a foot battery if needed although it will usually deploy with only three guns.

Now lets return to the battle...

"But first; Let's take a selfy"

warpaintjj looking oddly relaxed

"Late arrivals and the war in the south."   

Here we see another large French infantry brigade arriving in the southern sector. They are perfectly placed to intercept the Russians marching to save the day. Humpfg! 

The Russians redeploy to face this new threat.
Need to change orders to counter attack. 

The order change was bungled and I ended up going down a level to hold orders. Bah!
The half battery of 12lbs dishes out some canister to the French, I won't go down without a fight!

The French infantry fan out and one battalion even adopts the mysterious Grande Bandes formation.
BUT in better news; note on the horizon masses of Russians marching to save me, there is still hope.

My next order roll went wrong too and the brigade went onto retire orders, the guns limber up and we start to slowly retire from the field. I actually felt sick psychically about this.  

They're closing in and I can't do a thing about it.
Note the allied corps artillery reserve deploying behind the town, and miles away elements of the Allied Life Guard Corps arriving in the form of the two Prussian Foot Guards and Life Guards too. Hurrah!     

The large Russian brigade hoping to rear-end the French in front of them before they rear-end me! 

My precious guns limber up and ride away... stupid twats.
"A bridge too far?"

Lets return to the cavalry actions around the central bridge over the River Vissen. Great news! My Deaths Head hussars counter charge the French 3rd hussars and routed them, this broke the French light cavalry brigade which pissed of to pastures new! Score 1 for the Allies - we actually won something!

There they are on the very spot they vanquished the 3rd Hussars. Failing to pursue they held their ground and awaited reinforcements in the shape of the West Prussian Dragoons who are crossing under the watchful eye of General Jurgass.
The supporting horse guns begin putting round shot onto the Bavarians in the distance as the Russians come up behind them in the distance.   

The dragoons line out to support the hussars. I know Prussian dragoons wore coats of a truly hideous light blue but I simply can't allow it on my models, these are a compromise. I love 'em frankly.
Calpe cavalry painted by Tony Laughton, Foundry officers.

The Bavarian brigade must prepare for a cavalry attack and fend off the Russians behind - war on two fronts man!
"Ve have zem by ze ballz!" 

Rare picture of me, must be getting chilly at Marauder HQ as my woolly Christmas jumper has been deployed.
The card in the fore ground indicates a French entry point, due turn 11, i.e. very soon.   

Those cavalry again. They have now received fresh orders to assault the Bavarians. Note the Russians about to attack the Bavarian square. Other Bavarian battalions are in fact attacking the main body of this Russian brigade on the rear table, "best form of defence" and all that.  

Pretty piccie of the West Prussian Dragoons outside one of our walled villages.

The Bavarians line out to shoot down the cavalry charge - ballsy!
Russians advance on the square.
Front Rank foot and generals from Ian Hinds, now in Tony's other collection.    

Good close-up of the Bavarian line complete with groovy sapper in masonic garb.
Can these brave fellows contain the rampant charge of the Deaths Head Hussars?

In they go! Muskets spew flame, smoke billows, men yell and rattle sabres, horses and men tumble, nerves stretch to breaking point for the poor bloody infantry as the black clad devils on crazed fire breathing horses hurtle ever on ward to savage mutilation and death. Death and a red dawn... 
Needless to say the line's standing fire emptied too many saddles and a roll of double 1 to close caused my elite hussars to rout, their flight took them into the River Vissen where many died and the regiment was lost in a watery grave. The remainder of the brigade held - phew. The Russians on the rear table didn't fare well against the Bavarians either.

This set back left the Allies with no viable forces on the northern bank of the Vissen. With nothing to contest the bridgeheads the Prussian cavalry brigade and the Russian infantry brigade withdrew to the relative safety of the southern bank where fresher troops, Guard troops and the Corps artillery reserve were making their presence felt. The French in the south slunk away as night began to fall and concealed their retreat before the gathering allies could snuff them out.

There was a will to make a game of this for next week which was gratifying. We discussed what would happen next. In short both sides spent the night reordering their forces, rallying and recalling some of those who had cleared off and bringing up fresh formations. We also set up the table again by moving the river line north and making space for the allies to deploy across the French line of march. We would have a Part 3 and so will you.

Hope you enjoyed this, be great to hear your thoughts and feedback.
Call back soon, JJ


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Action on the river Vissen 1813 - Part 1

As promised we are back with a Napoleonic battle report. I designed this scenario for maximum mayhem and escalation hopefully over three weeks building into an ever fluctuating series of challenges with big armies.

The premise of the game is an old one; nearly random forces arriving at nearly random points at nearly random times. This is the kind of thing I recall Donald Featherstone using for his solo games and also appearing in many of those Charles Grant scenario books which seem to have spawned an industry now!

The table was devised by me, I wanted a series of five or six on table deployment points which were either screened from each other by terrain or miles apart. I also wanted six entry points with roughly the same criteria. This was to be a very fluid game of movement and opportunity so it shouldn't be too cramped. Here's how it looked.      

Looking north. The white cards and beads are deployment areas and entry points. 

Looking south east - Blue beads on cards represent French forces - white beads on cards the allies. Simples. 

Looking south west. The main French strength appears to be in the north and north west.   

Looking north east this time over the main board.

Not too much scenery but lots of room to play in. 

Looking due north.

We had created an archive of typical Napoleonic brigades on post cards some weeks before. These represented nearly our entire collections and variations on those. I then added in wild cards like redoubts and pontoon trains for spice. Each side drew six cards and then began to consult a simple table to determine deployment or entry points. Those entering from the table edges rolled 1d6 minus 1 for their turn of arrival.

Next we put down the brigades beginning the game on the table around their deployment areas. Having seen what was where and knowing of the enemies entry points (if not arrival times and composition) the two C-in-C's went off to plan and plot.    

"The loneliness of command." 
Tony goes over the Allied orbats and maps again & again in search of inspiration.
Note: even his beer bottle is inching away from him, ominous portents...

The self satisfied gleaming smile of a man with a box full of winning plans.
Note: his beer bottle is inching towards him. 
Unusually this game was designed with no objective or victory conditions. The generals were aware only of the troops available and when plus the battlefield around them. What they made of it was up to them; so if a particular bridge was important to the plan it should be taken, likewise there was no merit in crowding into villages unless they actually mattered to the overall plan to deal with the enemy.    

Dawn reveals a Prussian cavalry brigade in the centre of the field.
24 Dragoons, 24 Uhlans, 24 Hussars and horse battery under Jurgass (the fool). 

A strong French infantry brigade in the central western sector.

Russians covering every angle towards the north end of the table.   

A small French brigade of elite and veteran in infantry at the central northern edge.  

French light cavalry brigade stranded miles behind enemy lines on the wrong side of the river and masses of Prussians just over the horizon! They saddle up and head east for the next bridge over the River Vissen. 

Bavarian and Wurtemburg Brigade in the central eastern sector, 5 x 36 plus 6lb foot battery.
The blue stone beyond the wood indicates an Allied entry point

The same formation looking west onto the main table. Russians and Prussians miles away.

Nothing here except this pretty scenery thingy I made!

Turn two.
The French lights and Bavarians made enormous march moves; the Bavarians bursting onto the scene east of the central village and the French light cavalry legging it towards the bridge in the top left corner easily escaping the heavier Prussian horsemen.
More French appear from the west to harass Tony on the centre.

Tony's Russians deploy determined and ready for anything,
except the French...

The big Prussian cavalry brigade reforms to cross the bridge with the Uhlans covering this dangerous moment.

Brandenburg Uhlans.
Caple models painted by Perry Pender and then expanded by Tony Laughton.
Pennants by GMB, based by me. Shakos highlighted by me.   

Deaths Head Hussars.
Caple models painted by Perry Pender and then expanded by Tony Laughton.
Based by me. Shakos highlighted by me. Dog by Citadel I think.   

Elements of the Bavarian brigade turn to face a new threat behind them....

....  a Russian brigade appears behind the Bavarians but fails to prevent the audacious escape of French light cavalry.

Another shot of Prussian cavalry sorting themselves out to cross the bridge - this took five turns and only one regiment was over in that time.

West Prussian Dragoons.
Caple models painted by Tony Laughton.
Based by me. Shakos highlighted by me. No dog.   

"Regardez vous les cuirassiers Saxe. C'est tres formidable!"
Things hot up as the brigade of two elite Saxon Cuirassiers arrive with veteran horse artillery.

Rich's French infantry climb the hill from the central western sector.
Victrix models painted by Barry Hill for Rich who based them, GMB flags. 

Rich's French crest the hill to see Tony's Russians below them.
Note a French light cavalry brigade appearing top left. 

French 9th Hussars and Lancers with horse battery preceded by...

... the 5th Hussars.
These late arrivers were well place to fall on the flank of Tony's increasingly exposed brigade. 

Tony's defense opened very well. The half battery of 12lb guns threw very well with canister against the French even injuring the general who was carried to the rear. 

Finally some Allied reinforcements arrive - top left.
Six battalions of Russian Grenadiers, elites and vets, this should be a game changer... unless the French have elite heavy cavalry, artillery and high quality infantry waiting for them.

This impressive Russian formation of Grenadiers is naturally by Tony.
Foundry models painted by him. Flags are rolled copper hand painted with Bicorne finials. 

A command vignette by Tony - fit to lead an elite formation.
This is excellent except the grassy bush in my opinion, sorry mate! 

Part of the reception committee for the Russian Grenadiers, Saxon veteran horse battery. 

Veteran and elite infantry support the Saxon cavalry blocking the Russian Grenadiers.

Saxon Garde de Corp - elite cuirassiers.
Perry plastics with glued on plumes from my collection.

Saxon Regiment von Zastrow - more elite cuirassiers.
Perry plastics with glued on plumes from my collection.

French legere from the reception committee.
Perry plastics by Barry Hill for my collection, they're not really greenish!

"Hi Mum!"
Foundry Bavarians from my collection, painted by either Tony Laughton or Nigel Cox.

Panning out a little.
Left, Bavarians setting up to cover the town and their rear.
Right, Rich's French moving in on Tony's isolated Russians centre right.
Centre rear my Prussian cavalry dicking about trying to cross the bridge. 
Here are my wrong footed Prussian cavalry crossing the bridge covered by Uhlans.
The horse battery is deploying to cover the northern bank.

Bavarian foot battery bombarding the Russian held village.
Foundry models painted by Nigel Cox for me, based by me. 

Piss head Bavarians.
This regiment is by Tony Laughton, GMB flags - all mine!

Tony comes under pressure but holds with some devastating defensive fire.
The skirmishing jaeger withdraw after achieving sod all!  

Speaking of "achieving sod all" here are my cavalry still crossing the bridge!!! Guns now deployed.
The emerging French lights are the very ones who escaped my clutches on turn one, they have ridden hell for leather over the easternmost bridge, past some Russian reinforcements and are now about to attack my bridgehead!!!
The shame of it all!  

These look like Warlord and Victrix models from Rich's collection.
Someone feels the need to blow a trumpet.

French light cavalry supported by horse artillery threaten Tony.
Painting - Perry plastic 5th Hussars by Tony Laughton, Elite Miniatures battery by their designer Pete Morbey.
All mine mine mine!      

Tony's Russian brigade bracing for impact.

French columns gather on the hilltop before their attack.

More Allied reinforcements, two Prussian batteries arrive to add some fire power.
Caple limber and caisson teams painted by Perry Pender for me.
Canon required for the limber.    

Right time - wrong place!
Another Russian infantry brigade arrives this time miles away from anything.
Note the Prussian limbers arriving on the left, just need to cross that bridge so join the queue gents.  

These are grizzled veterans from Tony's collection.
They are Foundry models from his Humbrol enamels period.
Check out the canon ball ploughed into the ground on the vignette. 

The same brigade with a half battery attached, "get marching to the sound of the guns boys."  

The noose tightens on the exposed Russian brigade, the square holds the hussars, phew.

French columns crash into the Russian jaeger in line, the battery has been cut down already.
The end is nigh. 

The town is occupied by the Allies.

The Death's Head hussars finally clear the bridge and form line. 

The French 3rd Hussars line out from column to take on their Prussian counterparts.  

Here's the next phase ready to kick off, West Prussian Dragoons now on the bridge.
My horse battery takes a pot shot at the French horsemen.   

So, we both have a general attached, the French carry a casualty and I am elite, he has support though.
You'll have to wait till next week to find out what happens, as will we.
Cliff-hanger or what? 
So we closed after five turns, not bad progress. Things are very disparate with troops still to arrive at a new set of entry points over the next five turns, thanks to Rich for extra randomness. Once again the forces are from randomly drawn cards so we have no idea of what's coming. Everyone seems pretty "up" about this game so something must be going well.

I hope you have enjoyed this so far, maybe you can comment or follow if you don't already, or both.
Call back for the next instalment soon.
Best wishes, JJ