Monday, 27 April 2015

The Battle of Vimiero Hill

The Battle of Vimiero Hill

The battlefield:

French Battleplan:

After our last battle of Rolica where my centrally deployed cannon caused the British no end of problems - I fully expect Adam to deploy his artillery in a similar position in the middle of vimiero hill. If I were Adam I would certainly deploy a battalion in the village to anchor the British left flank and I'd deploy a nice long thin red line along the crest of vimiero hill with my skirmishers pushed out to cover my lines.

To my mind the village on the British left flank and the fact reinforcements will arrive there on turn 5 makes the left flank a daunting prospect for an attack. Similarly, I don't relish the thought of attacking the centre under cannister fire if that is where Adam places his cannon, therefore my plan is to heavily weight my attack on my left against the British right, whilst pinning the rest of the British line to prevent Adam reinforcing his right.

To this end, Thomieres and Chariots Brigades will deploy in the woods on my left. They will advance rapidly in column formation covered by their skirmishers,  deploy into line and engage the British right flank. Once the right flank is destroyed they will advance against the British centre.

Kellermans elite combined grenadiers in open order will cover the advance and deployment of my artillery in the centre with the unenviable task of facing the British cannon if that is where Adam deploys them and St clair's veteran grenadiers will deploy on the right in open order formation and advance to hold the vineyards on the right.

Here's hoping Adam doesn't put his cannon on his right! Here's hoping he puts them on his left!

British Deployment:

Adam deployed Fane's Brigade on his right flank with the 95th Rifles in line on the end of the British flank with the 50th Regiment next to them, skirmishers in front and the 5th battalion 60th Regiment behind in reserve. In the centre of his line went his 9 pounder cannon with Anstruther's Brigade to the left in line with one battalion in the village, two in line on the hill and one behind in reserve.

French deployment:

Turn 1:

The French seized the initiative and all along the front the French brigades advanced forward Thomieres skirmishers opened up on Fane's skirmishers on the French left and I promptly rolled a double 6!? Fane's skirmishers suffered 4 casualties and fell back from the ferocious French skirmish fire behind their own line! (Thomieres skirmishers are making a name for themselves they did similiar at Rolica!?)
In return the British cannon only caused 1 casualty on Grenadiers I.

Turn 2: The British seized the initiative with Anstruther's skirmishers moving up towards the vineyards and the approaching St clair's grenadiers.

The French left began to emerge from the woods whilst Thomieres and charlot's skirmishers pressed close to the 95th Rifles and 50th Regiment. In the centre Kellermans grenadiers advanced undaunted towards the British cannon, the French cannon limbered behind them advancing quickly whilst st clair's grenadiers moved into the vineyards.

British cannister proved ineffective causing only 1 casualty on grenadiers I as did the fire of the 52nd.

In return the French skirmishers could only cause 1 casualty on the 95th.

Turn 3:

The British retained the initiative and after much indecision I decided to charge the grenadiers I at the British cannon. After what happened to British troops charging French cannon at rolica I was sure this was a bad move but it looked more appealing than standing in front of the cannons engaging them with musketry!

The British defensive fire was desultory as the French Grenadiers boldly marched up the hill and with a cry of vive le emperour! Charged home causing the British cannon crew to rout!? (Adam rolled a double 1 for defensive cannister fire and another double 1 in the combat!?) No more British cannon to worry about!

Adam immediately started to bring up his reserve to plug the gap in the centre of his line whilst the British left opened up on the advancing grenadiers the 43rd causing a massive 3 casualties vs grenadiers III and on the French left the 50th Regiment caused 2 casualties on charlot's skirmishers.

The French reply was meek save for Thomieres skirmishers whom amazingly managed another double 6 vs the 95th Rifles whom faltered as a result!?

Turn 4:

The French stole a march and Grenadiers I positioned themselves on the flank of the 50th whilst French units on the left shook themselves out into line whilst columns continued to advance. St clair's grenadiers went over to hold orders as they'd reached their position. The French cannon unlimbered....

The British line was reforming to plug the gap in the centre.

Grenadiers I poured fire into the 50th regiment causing 4 casualties. Grenadiers II caused 1 on the 52nd. grenadiers III caused 3 casualties on the 43rd faltering them (another double 6!?)
In reply Fane's skirmishers caused 1 casualty vs Thomieres skirmishers, the 52nd caused 3 vs Grenadiers III and the 5th battalion 60th Regiment only caused 1 on Grenadiers I.

Turn 5:

The British regained the initiative and Acland's Brigade arrived on the far right of the hill next to the village and promptly set off for the British right flank!

On the French left the line regiments were nearing the British flank in mixed order whilst the centre were trying to reorganise against the threat of British reserves aswell as make room for the cannon to open up. On the right the Grenadiers IV stood in the vineyards doing nothing but stopping the battalion in the village redeploying!

Anstruther's skirmishers caused 2 casualties on Grenadiers III, Fane's skirmishers rolled a double 6 vs 86th line I faltering them! The 5th battalion 60th Regiment caused 1 casualty vs grenadiers I whilst the 52nd did the same to Grenadiers II.

Thomieres skirmishers rolled another double six against the 95th Rifles!? But this time the greenjackets held their nerve! Charlot's skirmishers caused 1 casualty vs 50th regiment, grenadiers I caused 1 vs 5th/60th and Grenadiers II 1 vs 52nd.

Turn 6:

The British maintained the initiative with Acland's Brigade continuing to rush to the British right flank.

The French left finally get their line units into effective musket range of the British right whilst Kellermans grenadiers in the centre move as best they can to stay engaged but make space for the cannons.

The 43rd light cause 2 casualties vs grenadiers III, the 52nd 1 vs grenadiers II, the 50th cause a massive 4 casualties on the 82nd line!

The 82nd line replies in kind inflicting 4 casualties on the 50th!
The 86th line II cause 2 on the 95th Rifles, the 32nd in column cause a further 3 casualties on the 95th, grenadiers II 2 vs the 52nd and Grenadiers III 1 vs 43rd.

Amazingly all units stand firm!

Turn 7:

The British retained the initiative. However, the French 86th line in column formation charge the much depleted 95th Rifles but the expert marksmen level their Baker Rifles and caused 4 casualties against the densely packed French column causing it to falter! (another double 6!?)

Noticing Kellermans grenadiers becoming swamped in the centre Junot orders his Brigade to retire to the right of the French cannon.
Acland's Brigade continues its dash to the British right, whilst his skirmishers go into action in the vineyards against grenadiers IV killing 2. Acland's skirmishers cause 1 casualty on grenadiers III but the British line infantrys fire is ineffective.

In contrast the French fire on the left is devastating with columns and lines causing 3 casualties on the 95th Rifles and 4 on the 50th Regiment. The British right disintegrates as the 50th Regiment routs from the battlefield but the stubborn 95th only falters.

Turn 8: The British maintain the initiative but the French 86th line charges the 95th Rifles routing and destroying them.

Seeing his right flank collapse Acland's Brigade attempts to deploy into line.

Kellermans grenadiers finally move out of the way of the French 8 pounders in the centre but are still blocking the 4 pounders. The 5th/60th kill a gunner of the 8 pounders and Anstruther's skirmishers kill another from grenadiers IV.

The 8 pounders fire is underwhelming causing only 1 casualty on the 5th/60th. Thomieres skirmishers cause a casualty on Fane's skirmishers causing them to fall below 50% and fall back from the battle - Fane's Brigade is destroyed!

The rest of the French left move up towards the British centre.

Turn 9:

The British refuse to give up the initiative and Acland's order is changed to hold.

St clair's Brigade is ordered to retire as it is becoming seriously weakened.

The 20th regiment forms line creating a new bulwark to the French advance.

Kellermans Brigade finally clears the front for the French cannon whilst charlot's skirmishers retreat behind the cannon so they can open up with cannister.
The French left advances towards the British centre.

The French cannon fire is ineffective causing only 2 casualties against the 5th/60th.

The 82nd line causes 3 casualties on the 20th but their morale holds!

Turn 10:

The British hold the initiative with a double six!

The British attempt to move their line away from French cannister range whilst the French left closes in on the 20th Regiment.

The 20th regiment in line delivers a devastating volley into the 32nd line causing 4 casualties. A 4 pounder gunner is also cut down.

The French cannon begin to find their mark causing 3 casualties on the 20th and 4 on the 52nd! But it is the turn of the French infantry on the left to miss with their fire!

All units pass their morale!

Turn 11:

Time is starting to run out for the French! Having retired his grenadier brigades Junot can only have 4 close order infantry battalions on the hill whilst the British still have 6 battalions!

At last the French seize the initiative! But with the 20th Regiment holding firm the French left can only shuffle forward whilst the British skillfully manoeuvre out of cannister range.
Firing shot the cannon cause only 1 casualty on the 20th and 5th/60th. Chalcots skirmishers cause 2 vs 43rd. The 82nd line and 86th I 3 vs the 20th but the 20th refuse to budge!

Turn 12:

The last stand! To win the French need to destroy 3 British battalions!? The British Seized the initiative but before they can do anything the French 86th Line charges the British 20th Regiment! The British fire misses and.The French column smashes into the thin red line routing the British! The remainder of the French forces pour fire into the 5th/60th whom in return cause 3 casualties on the 82nd but they lose 5 to the massed French fire! Both the French 82nd and the British 5th/60th are on morale checks! If the British hold they win the game if they rout the British could still win if the 82nd rout! The 5th/60th fail their morale and rout from the battlefield! The 82nd dig in their heels and hold their ground! Both the British and French have 4 battalions on the hill the game is a draw!

After battle thoughts :

Well that was a close one! I only just managed to scrape a draw in the very last turn! I have to admit it feels a bit strange as after the British cannon had been routed so quickly I always felt like I had the upper hand and my attack was progressing very well!

I think my plan was spot on but I did muddle it's implementation getting fouled up with the deployment of my units on the left and it took far too long to get my cannon into action.

However, I do think I had the upper hand in the battle and if it had continued with my cannon intact and the left brigades in good strength I think I would have gone on to win. I certainly did better than in the original battle and caused the British alot of casualties without losing a single battalion. But Adam still had alot of units in good strength so I'm sure he'd have something to say about that!

At the end of the day it doesn't matter whom wins or loses the payoff is the battle itself and it was a great game!

Adam did extremely well after the early loss of his cannon and he proved what can be done with infantry alone and nearly won the battle! I'm not sure he could have done much more!

From my point of view I think it was the right decision to retire the grenadier brigades as they were seriously mauled and I might have lost them if I'd thrown them onto the hill in an effort to win the game.

In the end I was two turns at least behind where I needed to be which is down to my messed up manoeuvring on the left and centre but all in all I'm chuffed with the plan and my attack was working and it was a great days gaming!

On a final note how good were Thomieres skirmishers!? If they ever grace the battlefield again I'm going to lobby for them to be graded as elite chosen men! :-)

Next up is Tallavera! :-)

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Getting ready for the battle of Vimiero!

Adam and I are having our second game this saturday and we'll be playing the Vimiero hill scenario. With all my tournament terrain stuck in a hall quite far away I need to make a very large hill, woods, a town and two vineyards! 

To get the size of the terrain correct I did a bit of measuring of the scenario map and converted it to the scale of the board we'll be using which is 8x4.

The town is easy as I have a few buildings already and some stone walls to go around it.

For the hill i bought a large sheet of polystyrene and cut out a rough shape with a knife. The hill for Vimiero is 72 inches long and 18-15 inches wide so I decided to make it in two parts for ease of storage. I then used a soldering iron to texture the face of the hill and painted them with a black undercoat. Normally I'd texture the whole hill but I'm planning on adding gravel and flock to the top and I need to get this job done quickly. 

Next I drybrushed the hills grey, then glued gravel patches to the top, painted and drybrushed the gravel an earth colour and finally glued on some flock. Job done!

With forests I used to glue 3-4 trees onto a large mdf baseboard but it's difficult to store and I want flexibility to represent whatever I need to for future battles, so I decided to mount individual trees on 50mm round laser cut mdf bases. This is an easy job, just glue each tree to a Base, once dry paint the rest of the Base with more pva glue and dunk in modelling sand. When dry add some flock job done!

With the vineyards I plan on just using some lichen on the board or a selection of smaller trees.
So, with all the terrain sorted all I need to do now is get busy painting more models! :-) 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Speed painting British Line Infantry

I'm not a very talented painter but I am careful, methodical and above all very patient so I can turn out some decent looking miniatures with a lot of hard work and effort!

Whilst this is fine for low model-count games, with Napoleonics on the scale I'm planning it's simply not feasible to paint a battalion a month. The problem is it takes me so long to paint a battalion the task becomes daunting to the point where I don't bother trying!?

One way around this is to buy units already painted which is what I'll do in the most part going forward, however I have a lead and plastic mountain to work through so I need to figure out a way of speed painting napoleonic miniatures!

With this in mind I sat down to figure out how to do it! No more precise painting of everything I need to liberate my painting technique get a big brush and slap on the paint!

After a lot of trial and error here is the system I've come up with for British Napoleonic line infantry:

1) dark red basecoat on jacket.
2) light red drybrush on jacket.
3) dark grey Base on trousers and blanket roll.
4) light grey drybrush on trousers and blanket roll.
5) dark brown Base on musket and hip bag.
6) light brown highlight on musket and hip bag.
7) brown Base on hands and face.
8) dark blue on water canteen.
9) light blue highlight water canteen.
10) black Base on hat, backpack, ammo pouch, boots and hair.
11) regimental colour on cuffs and collar.
12) colour on plumes.
13) white details on crossbelts, backpack, straps, jacket trim and plumes.
14) brass colour on musket barrel, bayonet, cap badge and belt buckles.
15) metal highlight on musket barrel and bayonet.
16) flesh highlight on hands and face.
17) final touch up of any mistakes.

Using this system i managed to paint 6 models in 3 hours, that's 30 minutes per model which means a 36 man battalion can be completed in 18 hours I can do that in two days rather than a month! Whilst I understand true speed painting is alot quicker than this it is a vast improvement on my previous speed!

I also think there may be scale efficiencies to be made time wise so if I paint in batches of 12 or more I might be able to do it even quicker! I'm pleased with the finish of the models they're a nice tabletop standard and the best thing is knowing I can get so much done in such a short time makes me incentivised to get painting! :-)

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The battle of Rolica!

So here we are, my first proper game of General de Brigade and we start at the start with the battle of Rolica with myself taking on the role of Delaborde and my mate Adam filling Wellesley's famous shoes.

My objective for this scenario was to hold the ridge for as long as possible, whilst Adam's objective was to clear all French close order units from the ridge by the end of turn 10. In addition, I gave myself the personal goal of inflicting more casualties on the British than I suffered, which would exceed that which Delaborde had achieved in the actual battle, as well as promising myself I wouldn't play hard and fast as can sometimes happen with a wargame but as realistically as I could being mindful of losses and preserving my force. If I think my force is in jeopardy and that Delaborde would retreat - then that's exactly what I'll do. 

Being firmly on the defensive and outnumbered in both quality and quantity, I gave my deployment a serious amount of thought. Initially I considered simply arranging my battalions in a long line along the ridge but I felt uneasy about doing this as my flanks would be hanging in the wind and I would have no tactical reserve to counter developments. I did briefly flirt with the idea of placing the unreliable swiss conscript battalion in reserve behind a main line but decided they couldn't be trusted with the job. So I plumped with placing Thomieres'  Brigade on my left flank with the 1st provisional leger I and 4th Swiss on the ridge covered by Thomieres' skirmishers and the 1st provisional Leger II behind the ridge in reserve. My 6 pounder artillery were deployed in the centre of my line on the ridge, whilst Brennier's Brigade took up position on the right flank with the 70th Line I on the ridge covered by Brennier's skirmishers and the 70th Line II behind the ridge in reserve. Joining them behind the ridge were the 26th Chasseurs,  General Delaborde, Thomieres, and Brennier. 

Deployment was by sketchmap, Adam revealed his positions - deploying Crauford's Brigade on the right with the Portuguese cavalry, his 9 pounder battery in the centre with Nightingale's ill-fated Brigade to the mid-left and Hill's Brigade on the far left.

Deployment from the British perspective

Both my battalions were issued with hold orders, whilst Adam issued engage orders to all his battalions save Nightingale's whom must start and stay on an assault order until a Falter or retreat result due to the blundering during the actual battle of Colonel Lake!

French deployment

British deployment

Turn 1:

The British seized the initiative and advanced all along their front with the Portuguese cavalry surging down my left flank making me wonder about the decision to entrust the 4th Swiss conscripts to hold that end of my line! In the centre Nightingale's battalions in column formation were already far too close for comfort to the centre of my line. In response to my threatened left flank the 1st Provisional Leger II started to take position on the crest of the steep slope on my left and the swiss 4th changed into square formation. If the Portuguese cavalry remained in such a threatening position I could forsee the poor conscripts being engaged by British battalions in line....

The British skirmishers opened up a sharp fire on the opposing French voltiguers causing a casualty on both Thomieres and Brennier's skirmishers. The British 9 pounders opened up counterbattery fire with no effect.
In response the French skirmishers engaged their British counterparts inflicting a casualty on Hill's skirmishers and 2 on the 60th Rifles!? Unfortunately there were no additional adverse affects for the double 6!
The French 6 pounders loaded cannister and fired at the 29th Foot of Nightingale's Brigade but only caused 1 casualty on the battalion and their screening skirmishers - not enough by far!

Turn 2:
The British maintained the initiative and the 60th Rifles were promptly ordered to charge and clear off Thomieres' skirmishers! Defensive fire had no effect but stung by the earlier crack shooting of the voltiguers the 60th had no stomach for the job and retreated to the rear! (Poor Adam that was a bad time to roll a double 1).

The British continued their advance straight at the ridge and surprisingly the Portuguese cavalry swung round behind the 4th Swiss square towards the slope. 
The British cannon changed target to the 1st provisional Leger I causing 2 casualties and a bounce through on the 26th Chasseurs behind them whom I had started to move to the left to counter the Portuguese cavalry thrust. The British skirmishers continued their sniping causing a casualty on the 70th Line I and Brennier's skirmishers respectively, whilst the 95th Rifles killed one of Thomieres skirmishers.
This time the French cannon found their mark causing a massive 4 casualties on the veteran 29th and one on their skirmish screen. The 70th Line I opened up on the other British column in Nightingale's Brigade to no effect....
The 60th Rifles rallied but the 29th Foot Falter in front of the French guns.

Turn 3:

Adam attempted to change Brigade Nightingale's assault order to an engage order but the ADC carrying the message got lost. The British moved their skirmishers aside to allow the infantry battalions to engage and charge the French but Hill's Brigade was tripping over itself trying to deploy effectively. The Portuguese cavalry lined up for a charge against the Swiss conscripts..

Meanwhile both French reserve battalions manoeuvred to the top of the slopes on either flank unfortunately blocking the progress of the 26th Chasseurs in their attempt to close with the Portuguese cavalry!
Once again the British cannon fired at the 1st provisional Leger I causing yet more casualties and killing another unfortunate Chasseur with bounce through. Nightingale's skirmishers fired at the French cannon to no effect but Hill's skirmishers continued to whittle down Brennier's skirmishers. On the French left flank the 1st Provisional Leger II levelled their muskets at the distant Portuguese cavalry and fired a devastating volley causing 2 casualties. The Swiss conscript square spat flames and another Portuguese cavalryman fell causing the units morale to waver. The 70th Line I held their fire awaiting the inevitable assault next turn.
The Portuguese cavalry turned tail and fled back through their British allie's lines disordering the entire British right flank!

Turn 4:

The French seized the initiative and the 4th Swiss marched in square formation down the back of the ridge pulling back from the British line in order to change formation. Buoyed by their success the 1st provisional Leger II marched down the slope becoming unformed in the process.
The British 60th Rifles rejoined the fray and the 82nd Foot of Nightingale's Brigade charged up the ridge towards the awaiting ranks of the 70th Line I... A devastating volley halted the charge in its tracks causing the 82nd to falter. The French cannon raked the 29th with yet more cannister.
The British cannon once again pummelled the 1st provisional Leger I.
On the French right Brennier's skirmishers were doing an amazing job of holding up Hill's line battalions and I marvelled that Adam was attempting to blast them away with musketry rather than charging them? Though after the battle we realised skirmishers automatically fall back from enemy close order units so the British could simply have moved up and forced them out of the way!? (confirmation of this and how it works would be great from anyone in the know!).

Turn 5:

The French continued with the initiative, the swiss conscripts still couldn't figure out how to change from square into line, blocking the 1st provisional Leger II from wheeling sufficiently and in turn blocking the 26th Chasseurs behind them!?
French cannister swept through the diminishing ranks of the 29th once more inflicting heavy casualties. The rest of the French line fired but to little effect. The British line similarly fluffed most of their shots although the 29th did manage a casualty on the French cannon. After this brief fillip, the 29ths morale finally crumbled and the battalion retreated.

Turn 6:
Wellesley was furiously sending orders to Nightingale to end his doomed attack on the ridge but Nightingale was either nor receiving the orders or ignoring them. The brave 82nd charged up the ridge once more only to be met by another devastating volley, which routed and dispersed the battalion!
Frustrated by his canon's lack of bite so far, Wellesley ordered the pieces to be manhandled forward in an attempt to get into cannister range. On the British right flank Crauford's Brigade shook out to engage. Hill's Brigade starting to extricate themselves from the tangle volleyed into the 70th Line I causing 4 casualties.
Over on the left flank the swiss conscripts still thought enemy cavalry were lurking even though the Portuguese cavalry had long since quit the battlefield and flatly refused to leave their square much to my dismay! The Provisional Leger II and Chasseurs behind them still manoeuvring ponderously to get into the fight.

Turn 7:
Though bloodied, the British deployment into a firing line was nearly complete. The cannon continued to advance and fire further thinning the 1st provisional Leger I and the 26th Chasseurs behind! The 45th Foot and 95th Rifles poured fire into the 1st provisional Leger I causing 2 casualties. Unfortunately the 5th and 9th of Hill's Brigade faltered at the sight of the 82nd dispersing.
Having dealt with Nightingale's Brigade the French cannon set their sight on the 45th Foot to their left and started the cannister flying once more causing 3 casualties. Thomieres' skirmishers engaged the 95th Rifles - the Voltiguers must be expert marksmen for they gained another double 6 just as they had against the 60th Rifles!? One marksman wounded Crauford causing him to become poor! Adam then duly rolled a double 1 and the 95th faltered!?
The only good news for Wellesley was that the rallied 29th formed up back into line.

Turn 8:
The French seized the initiative and finally the left flank got itself sorted out and the Swiss and 1st provisional Leger II backed up by the 26th Chasseurs advanced towards the ridge and the British right. Brennier's skirmishers were perilously close to 50% losses so they pulled back behind the ridge whilst the 70th Line II finally managed to occupy the top of the slope on the right after much wheeling!? 
The French cannon raked the 45th Foot causing 4 casualties and the 1st provisional Leger added a volley into them that caused a further 3 but the 45th held their nerve and dropped another 2 in reply to the weakening 1st provisional Leger I.
Nightingale finally understood his orders and the British line reformed ready to fight once more.

Turn 9:
Time was running out for Wellesley, if the British were to achieve anything from this battle now was the time! The British duly took the initiative and all line units advanced into close range of the French. The British line erupted with fire, smoke billowing accross the battlefield. Bloody holes were smashed in the French lines atop the ridge! Reeling from such heavy fire with dead littering the ridge the French reply was measly. The 70th Line I retreated pushing their way through their comrade's ranks and unformed the 70th Line II and Brennier's skirmishers! Suddenly the entire French right flank was in chaos and confusion!

Turn 10: 
The sky was growing dark and soon Wellesley would have to call a halt to his attack but time still remained to throw the French from the ridge and gain a victory! Wellesley threw his left flank forward into the gap in the French line whilst his right moved to blast the 1st provisional Leger from the ridge.
In desperation, the 1st provisional Leger II marched straight up the ridge and readied themselves for the coming onslaught.
The British left blasted the 70th Line II causing huge casualties. On the British right the gallant 45th and 95th Rifles poured volleys into the French line causing the 1st provisional Leger I to retreat! Suddenly the entire French army was in danger of collapse! But the 1st provisional Leger II planted their feet and refused to falter holding the ridge and gaining victory for Delaborde!

So our first battle was fought! Time to pick over the bones! The first thing I should say is that I really enjoyed the game! Even with dodgy terrain, alot of unpainted miniatures, a scenario that didn't require me to do an awful lot tactically and the game literally lasting from 10am till 4pm! It was an awesome game and I loved every second of it!

I was very impressed with the General de Brigade Rules, as it was our first game we were looking up everything all the time and the quick reference guide was a godsend but by the end of the game we were rattling through the turns very quickly and not having to consult the rules every five seconds which bodes well for future games.
We inevitably played some things wrong but that's part of learning!

The main things to say about the rules is that they make sense both in game terms, historically and from an enjoyment perspective. One of the most enjoyable things about General de Brigade is that the rules help build a narrative so instead of being solely concerned about what you and your opponent are doing you are also watching this wonderful story and spectacle unfold with all its drama!

One thing I really like is the fact you can't do whatever you want whenever you want to do it. Orders aren't always followed, units don't always do exactly what you want them to do! Units would falter when you'd rather they charge or retreat and it all just feels very right. 

There are alot of tactical decisions and sometimes the decision is to do nothing! I could go on but to sum up General de Brigade is an excellent set of rules and I'm very happy we're using them. I think we need to get used to the pace of General de Brigade, unlike other wargames the pace of battle is much slower it takes time to form up or reform, attacks will develop over many turns whereas we're used to barrelling headlong into the enemy because if you don't you won't be around long enough to get there!

The next thing I need to say is well done to Adam he had alot of abysmal luck all the way through the game until the last two turns when his dice decided to be less spiteful! I've never seen so many low dice rolls!? It got to a stage where a lesser person would have thrown in the towel but he kept gamely battling on and in the end nearly turned disaster into victory!

So what of the game itself? From my point of view things went much better than I could have hoped. Deploying my cannon in the centre on the ridge probably won me the game as the cannister was often lethal causing alot of morale checks on the British I was also very happy with my decision to hold two battalions back as a tactical reserve although this worked better on my left than on my right. Other than this all I had to do was hold position and choose my targets carefully. I was especially happy holding fire with the 70th Line I before the 82nd charged it made their defensive fire much more effective when the charge came and dispersed the enemy unit!

I did learn manoeuvring is difficult especially in line and I really fouled up my left flank for alot of turns and I didn't use my cavalry very well so I'm going to have to get better at that.

From Adam's perspective I think he was too aggressive with his cavalry when he could of kept them within threat range of the conscripts forcing them to stay in square whilst shooting them with battalions in line I doubt I would have.had an answer to that
Also I thought he could have tried to outflank me a bit more and try and get several battalions against one of mine but hindsight is a wonderful thing and he had similiar difficulties to me in manoeuvring his units and he had alot more manoeuvring to do!

I think us not realising you can push back skirmishers also hindered Adam as Brennier's skirmishers effectively blocked Hill's Brigade for several turns although they probably should have charged them.

Even though the British had a torrid time of it when they did get their act together and I rolled bad the entire battle changed with the French crumbling at the end so it ended a close run thing which is testament to Adam's tenacity!

I couldn't be more happy with achieving my objective of holding the ridge and doing what Delaborde couldn't in giving the British a very bloody nose! Who knows if Delaborde had done the same he could well have ended Wellesley's career on the ridge at Rolica before it had even begun and history would could have been very different....

I can't wait for our next game and my motivation couldn't be any greater to get on with some work on this project! One thing I definately need to do is rebase all those individually based models onto 6 model bases moving them was a pain in the backside (hence why the 70th Line II suddenly became old guard grenadiers!? Adam had the patience of a saint moving his battalions! And yes I know I was forwarned!). 

Next time Vimiero and it'll be the French attacking a hill!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

I'm back!

Ok so it's been awhile, well, over a year in fact!? I could bore you with tales of a lack of internet connection, an inability to interest my mates in a game of Napoleonics, how my hobby time has been mysteriously gobbled up by x-wing and how I've been working hard but I'll save you from all that and just say I'm back now so our journey can continue once more!
I have made reasonable progress on the Napoleonics front, I've collected a fair amount of miniatures and I've even managed to paint quite alot but as you'll see I still have a long way to go and yes I still have a pile of boxes of miniatures still awaiting assembly and a lick of paint and at the rate I paint and the amount I plan on collecting, I can't see that changing anytime soon!
The main reason I'm back blogging is because I have finally found a like-minded chap whom is also interested in mixing it up on the Napoleonic battlefield! Last week we had our first small playtest of the General de Brigade
Rules and it's fair to say I was very impressed! Yes that's right I've been working away at this project for over a year and last week was the first time I've had any semblance of a game!? So hopefully you can forgive me my tardiness!
Buoyed up by the success of our little playtest, Adam and I have arranged our first proper game of General de Brigade for tomorrow! We'll be starting at the start with the battle of Rolica scenario straight out of the General de Brigade rulebook with me taking on Delaborde's unenviable job of holding up the British under Adam's command for as long as possible.
Initially, I thought I wouldn't do a battle report on this game as all the models aren't painted yet and the terrain for the game is what I've managed to scrape together at short notice - not exactly the visual feast I'd like to present, especially when compared to the lavish games I enjoy reading about on other blogs like marauder moments!  However, I've decided to go for it and show the game and our first fumblings with the General de Brigade Rules as everyone's got to start somewhere and I'd like you to see what I'm up to, even if it is 'warts and all' :-)
To say I'm looking forward to the game tomorrow is an understatement! I'll look forward to sharing the battle report with you and unlike this post there will be lots of pretty - and not so pretty- pictutes for you :-) Cheers Rob ;-)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A little something arrived this morning....

Hi everyone I just received a very nice package this morning.... If I can get out of decorating for five minutes I'll have a read!!! :)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Battle of Fuentes de OƱoro Order of Battle

Hi everyone :) I've been researching penninsular war battles in an effort to direct my collecting and painting efforts.

I decided the battle of  Fuentes de Oñoro would make a nice first engagement for me even if it is a big first project! The idea is that it will give me two core armies for penninsular gaming and will be transferable to other theatres of war with the french force so they can fight against the Austrians, Russians and Prussians in the future.

To that end I've been researching the  Fuentes de Oñoro OOB'S (Order of Battle) as its an interesting and evenly matched battle with lots of interesting units to help me choose which real units my battalions will represent (hence all the Highlanders!?)

So I now have a long list of French and British regiments at the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro but I need some advice on which ones to pick!? Should I try and represent entire actual divisions/brigades? Or should I just pick whichever I like the thought of? Unforrunately I'm not sure what scale I'm going to represent the battle with - the infantry figure scale is roughly 1:25 do I translate that to battalions aswell? I'd prefer to refight the battle as a whole rather than just part of it and I'd like to represent the different types of units involved but at a scale I can handle?
All advice very much welcome!

As an aside I've just invested in the General de Brigade deluxe edition rules so I'm looking forward to having a read when it arrives in the post - a backup in case my own rules fall short! :)