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, 26 March 2016

Bautzen 1813 - initial deployment and thoughts

We've been playing this game now for three weeks and are on turn 15 so further posts will follow more quickly I hope. This is an overview of the battlefield, the armies and scenario design. All pictures are taken before battle commenced.

The Allied army and deployment.

This magnificent array is the Allied Reserves on one the rear tables - this is another big game gents!

The Allied centre is dotted with redoubts until it reaches the hill and then hooks to the right and back across the rear table.
The line well covered by a series of ponds.

The Allied extreme left is anchored on a range of wooded low hills.

The linchpin of the Allied line - where the French hammer blow would fall.

Prussians under Yorck prepare a hostile reception committee for Ney. 

Blucher's Corps prepare for action on the hill.
Allied army at Bautzen; C-in-C Wittgenstein  E A A

Barclay’s command A A A *
Berg, Gortschakoff, Milloradavich.

Blucher’s command A E E **
Kleist, Yorck, Blucher.

Constantine’s command
Reserve Heavy Cavalry
Russian Grenadier Division
Combinerd Allied Life Guard Corps
Russian Guard Cavalry 

* Barclay must attach the following before deployment…
6 gun 6lb foot battery
6 gun 12lb foot battery 
16 Hussars
16 Hussars
4 x 6 Cossacks 

**  Blucher must attach the following before deployment…
24 Hussars
24 Dragoons,
Two foot batteries @ 4 guns
Horse battery @ 3 guns

Berg (part of Barclay‘s command)
2 x 32 Jaeger veterans
2 x 32 line
4 x 32 2nd class line
16 Skirmishers

Gortschakoff (part of Barclay’s command)
2 x 32 veterans
3 x 32 line
3 x 32 2nd class line
16 Skirmishers

Miloradavich (part of Barclay’s command)
1 x 32 veterans
4 x 32 line
2 x 32 2nd class line
1 x 32 Opelchenie, militia
16 Skirmishers

Blucher A E E
2 x 32 veterans
2 x 32 line
2 x 32 2nd class, enthusiastic
1 x 32 conscript
12 rifle armed Skirmishers

 1 x 32 veterans
 2 x 32 line
 2 x 32 c2nd class line, enthusiastic
 1 x 32 conscripts, enthusiastic
 12 skirmishers, rifle armed
 12 LDW Cavalry 2nd class, enthusiastic
1 x 32 veterans
2 x 32 line
2 x 32 2nd class line, enthusiastic
1 x32 conscripts, enthusiastic
12 skirmishers, rifle armed
12 LDW cavalry, 2nd class, enthusiastics!   

Russian Reserve Infantry – Raevsky
1 x 32 Grenadiers, Elite
5 x 32 Grenadiers, veterans
6 gun 6lb foot battery

Russian Reserve heavy cavalry – Duka                                                                                                 
1 x 32 Novgorod Cuirassiers,
1 x 32 Starodub Cuirassiers
3 gun horse battery

Allied Life Guard Corps – Constantine A E A
Ismailaosk IR, 32 Guard
Preobashensk IR, 32 Guard
Isamailoski IR, 32 Guard
Finnish Guard Jaegers, 32 Elite
Marines of the Guard, 32 Elite
Lithuanian Life Guards, 32 Elite
Guard foot artillery, 6 12lb guns

Prussian Guards -
32 Prussian Life Guards – Guard
32 1st Foot Guards, elite
32 2nd Foot Guards, elite
Guard artillery, 4 x 12lb guns, elite

Russian Guard Cavalry -
32 Life Guard Cuirassiers, Guard
32 Guard Hussars, Guard
24 Guard Uhlans
Guard horse artillery, 6 x 6lb guns, elite

Chris played both Wittgenstein as C-in-C and Blucher in charge of the Prussians. Russian Tony played the Russians under Barclay, not sure how they will div-up the reserves yet. Thus they both have a senior commander who can act as C-in C for their won brigades/divisions/corps.

This is a big army! It's deployed in depth behind redoubts behind a river and screened by ponds. anchored at each end by woods and a hill. The Allies have detected a large French flanking force so have deployed to face that too. This will be a tough nut to crack and I no nut-cracker. 

The French army and deployment.

The main French army deployed on the their back board, minus Ney who leads the flank marchers.
Oudinot's Corps will enter beyond the left end of this board directly onto the main board near the woods. 

The French heavy cavalry reserve under Latour Maubourg await orders from Ney to advance.
I mounted the white charger as Napoleon and the mantle of Soult too, French Tony took Ney. Thus we both have a senior commander who can act as C-in C for their won brigades/divisions/corps and I get to boss anyone and the Guard around as the Emperor too. Here's what we had;

The French Army at Bautzen C-in-C Napoleon Bonaparte E E P

Soult’s command;-

MacDonald, Bertrand, Marmont, Oudinot,

Ney’s command *;-
Latour Maubourg, Lauriston, Bertrand, Ney!

Imperial Guard Napoleon
Old and Young Guard, Guard cavalry, Guard foot artillery to attach to either Guard foot division.

* Ney must attach the following assets to commands before deployment;-
Cavalry brigade, 2 x 24 Hussars, 1 x 12 Lancers, 1 x horse battery, 2 x 8lb foot batteries. 

Ney - P E E

3 x 36 veterans
3 x 36 line
12 Skirmishers 

Oudinot  (part of Ney’s command.)
3 x 36 veterans
3 x 36 line
12 skirmishers

Marmont  (part of Soult's command)
6 x 36 Line
Foot battery
12 skirmishers

Lauriston  (part of Ney’s command)
1 x 36 veterans
3 x 36 line
2 x 36 2nd class
12 skirmishers

MacDonald  (part of Soult’s command)
5 x 36 line
1 x 36 conscripts
12 skirmishers
8lb foot battery
24 light cavalry

Bertrand  (part of Ney’s command)
1 x 36 elite
3 x 36 line
2 x 36 2nd class
12 skirmishers
24 line lancers, inferior mounts

Latour Maubourg (part of Ney’s command)
24 Cuirassier, veterans on inferior mounts
32 Saxon cuirassiers, elite
32 Westphalian cuirassiers, line
Saxon horse battery, 3 guns, veteran
The Old Guard - Mortier
36 Grenadiers a pied
36 Chasseurs a pied
36 Saxon Guard Grenadiers
36 Italian Royal Guard

Young and middle Guard – Drouot
4 x 32 Middle Guard elites
5 x 36 Young Guard enthusiastic line

Guard cavalry –
36 Grenadiers a cheval, Guard
36 Chasseurs a cheval, Guard
36 Lancer, Guard
Horse battery, battery 

Cannons deployed forward to begin an opening bombardment.
Marmont commands the Italians behind, behind that is the Young & Middle Guard. 

Closer in shot of the same formations.

Part of Marmont's Corps and some of MacDonald's on the outskirts of Bautzen.
Napoleon and entourage in the centre.

Proxy time...
Rich left us with no Old Guard or Guard Cavalry so until we get some these will have to do.
Austrian heavies as Grenadiers a cheval, Austrian uhlans as Guard Lancers and Austrian Hussars as Chasseurs a Cheval.
The Old Guard infantry consist of Grenadiers a Pied, Chasseurs a Pied, Saxon Guards and Italian Royal Guard.  
Proxy Guard Horse artillery deployed forward to bombard.

Proxying as Guard 12lb guns bombard Russians in their redoubts.  
I made the French formations too small really and the Russians especially too big. It's too late now but I can always send some reserves to help if it gets silly, we need to get some play out of it afterall.

Scenario ideas. 

Finding a good wargame scenario for Bautzen eluded my best efforts both in print and online. I wanted a game not a strict re-fight so this is really Bautzenesque, a game inspired by the shape and feel of the real thing. We dispatched with day one which wasn't much good as a game in my view. This left us day two when Napoleon sent his Marshalls in a frontal engagement amongst ponds and redoubts while Ney leads a large flank attack. This sounds more like it. The battle also featured both French and Allied Guards which means some pretty and choice top drawer kit - right up my street.

Redoubts and ponds we have aplenty in the Marauder Collection - yes it deserves a capital "C". I pared down the real orbats which French Tony supplied via Nafziger - they are huge and daunting, instead I basically pitted almost all of our French against rather too many Allies. Where possible we used the right generals in the right places.

Ney's bungling delay was catered for by late arrivals on move orders which then had to change to assault for the attack. We rated Ney as poor for issuing and interpretating orders. Here I need to explain some recent house rules we are using in our General de Brigade games.

The General de Brigade rules rate commanders as either Excellent, Average or Poor. Recent rule sets such as In The Grandest Manner and Controlling The Chaos, even Black Powder are more detailed and realistic in their approach by breaking command ability into various categories. I like this so we have trialled a three category system. Each general is either pre-rated or randomly rated as follows;-

Command - the ability to issue and interpret received orders clearly. Excellent, Average or Poor.
Leadership - the affect he has on the morale of his men. Excellent, Average or Poor.
Melee - his attitude to danger & affect on the men he fights alongside. Excellent, Average or Poor.  

Thus in our game Blucher rates as A E E, so so with orders, his men love him, excels in combat. 
Napoleon as E E P, ie Great with Orders and Morale but cannot even lead a charge.    
Ney as P E E, great for morale and great in a charge/melee but piss poor with orders on the day. 
Most are rolled for randomly on 1d6 per catergory, 1 Poor, 2-5 Average, 6 Excellent

In rule terms it means a general with Excellent Command adds +1 to order change rolls, Poor -1.
A general with Excellent Leadership adds +1 to all morale based rolls, Poor -1.
A general with Excellent Melee adds an extra +1 for fighting in the front rank, Poor cannot lead a charge or fight in the front rank.

This seems to have been working so far, don't forget most are Average so it doesn't even matter. 

Another house rule which is working a treat is First Volley. This allows each battalion to gain a +1 factor on the volley fire charts for its first volley of the day. This makes you really think about holding your fire for something worth firing at and waiting for the target to reach short range. The bonus is lost if the unit melees before it fires its first volley.  In a further measure we have forced some 2nd class and lower grade troops to test to hold fire if a target comes into range as some of these would just fire anyway, it happened! This last stage is harder to keep track of in larger games, we'll see. Lastly veterans round up half casualties when firing, just a little bonus but nice, along the same lines as 2nd Class rounding down so it fits in nicely.

Let me know what you think by commenting.      

Some random shots and close-ups. 

Grand Duke Constantine getting enthusiastic in front of the Russian Guards.

More Russian reserves, this time the Grenadiers with attached battery and half a hussar regiment.

Yet more reserves. The maniac Duka with both the Novgorod and Starudub cuirassiers.
He shouldn't be allowed anywhere near such fine troops let alone to lead them. 

Since this pic was taken I have replaced the Grand Redoubt with a smaller one rather like the one below pictured stuffed full of nasty Prussians. This seems too much for Bautzen - it's not Borodino afterall.  
The tutorial post describing how I built it is one of the most popular on here, have a look.

Russians in the woods, possibly Berg. Light infantry and cossacks lead the way.

Ready for Kick-off.  

Excellent Russian 6lb six pound gun battery vignette, by Russian Tony.

Prussian battery in a redoubt scratch built by me.

Another shot of the 6lb battery vignette, beautiful.

My 1st Silesian Landwehr, Warlord toys painted by Barry Hill, hi Barry - we're thinking of you.
Perry officer painted by me, possibly the last figure I ever painted, not so bad.     
The commanders.

Front Rank models painted by French Tony, expertly based by me - it's all I'm good for these days. 

Napoleon on the outskirts of Bautzen.
There we will leave it, we're set up, you know what's what and where. You know of some new house rules and how they work and you've hopefully wallowed in the enjoyment of some pretty pictures too. Next time we go to war.

Pop back to catch up on the fighting, please take some time to comment, it fuels our fire. 

Happy Easter, best wishes,


Sunday, 20 March 2016

New arrivals arrive...

Happy days are here again, a large parcel has arrived from Barry Hill's family in the Philippines. This always signals great joy and celebration at Marauder HQ. Unpacking is what you hope Christmas Day will be like - an almost endless procession of lovely toys, individually wrapped shiny new toys, 164 to be precise. Once I sorted the Napoleonic goodies from the ECW and WOTR stuff I was left with this box of gladness.    

Here we have 62 French dragoons, 24 French Hussars, and 48 Austrian/Hungarian Insurrection troops. 

Extreme close up of an elite company trooper of the 17th Dragoons.
Perry plastic miniature. 

Super extreme close up, exquisite detail, you could almost slap that horses hairy arse and yell "Giddy up". 

A Line trooper 22nd dragoons in close up.

As I said these are the 22nd dragoons.

Life-size picture.
I don't see the detail at this scale, shame.

3rd Hussar trooper. 

Life-size trooper.

Life-size elite company trooper, Perry plastics.
Somewhere there is a picture of the Austrian Insurrection troops which seems to have eluded me.

Birdie the Wonder Dog on Dartmoor with Mrs JJ and I celebrating our wedding anniversary, great weekend of fine dining and fine wines, far too much scotch and excellent Jail Ale, possibly the best beer I have ever had, and that is a very big sample indeed, really, believe me, just this once.   
Now I just need to base them with Chris, please? Parcels of unpainted toys have gone to Barry Hill, Pete Morbey and Blue Turkey, of course Tony Laughton has a queue waiting to be painted too, this never ends it seems.  

The Bautzen game is well under way and turning out to be a killer, how many snake eyes can four people possibly roll? Lots of pics to edit and annotate so pop back soon,


Saturday, 5 March 2016

Could they lock YOU away?

Reasons for admission to the insane asylum 1864 to 1889... 

I'm afraid they'd get me but I'm not telling you why"!!! Afterall I have given up smoking...
What on earth is deranged masturbation? One of you must know.

What's your reason for admission?