Sunday 20 June 2010


We spent most of the gaming sesson at the club last week discussing stuff for COW (Conference of Wargamers, 1st weekend in July, held at Knuston Hall). In particular we were exercised by what hats and uniforms to wear for Paddy Griffiths 'Oh What a Lovely War' plenary game, I'm still holding out for 'Young Churchill' style pith helmets and Broomhandle Mausers. We also had a run through of one of Tim Gows new games he is taking, 'Tank Terror'. Don't want to spill the beans, but suffice it to say that it involves tanks.... It will also require special headgear for the umpiring team.

In other wargaming news, I've almost finished my first batch of 2mm WSS figures, some fourteen brigades of British troops, plus HQs, wagons, pontoon trains etc. Quite pleased with how they've come out, although I messed up the flocking on the cavalry, being to lazy to pre-paint the bases brown and now they've come out a bit too dark. I managed to retrieve the situation for the infantry and it is a lesson learned for the future. On to the Bavarians next, particularly looking forward to doing the cuirassiers.

I seem to be getting drawn in by the lure of WW2 re-enacting. A very expensive and time consuming hobby, as if I haven't got enough of those. Well, we shall see.

Thursday 3 June 2010

A Surprise Encounter

Had a bit of a surprise last night, we seemed to end up refighting Borodino, which certainly wasn't on the game plan at all, just a happy set of coincidences. Tim emailed me asking what the plan was (I'd kind of assumed he was bring something!) but as I had managed to miss the WD Display Team (North) outing to Partisan I felt obliged to put something on. I've been busy painting my new 2mm WSS stuff, so I had Horse & Musket on my mind and rummaging through my file of scenarios I came across Sam Mustaphas Borodino scenario for Grand Armee. With the recent outings to 1914, I'd also got squares on the mind so I remembered my gridded carpet tiles, and then those 6mm Napoleonic Russians I'd got off John Armatys years ago and then the Leipzig rules which Baccus had used for their big participation game a couple of years back. All I had to do was transfer the Borodino map onto the squares (fairly easy as it was already gridded into 1k squares) and translate the OB into from brigades into divisions and job done.

Even at this reduced scale (one stand = 5000ish men) this is a BIG battle in a small area, with several Corps on both sides and the deployment areas absoutely stuffed with troops and guns. I went with Sams OOB but as I was running out of Generals, I assigned some of the Russian cavalry corps in direct support of various infantry corps (as was done historically) and gave the French the option of attaching out Murats four corps of cavalry or leaving them as one huge cavalry wing. The French opted for the latter.

Tim took a series of photos through the game, which hopefully I'll be able to post when he sends them to me, but the main course of events was as follows.

Both sides deployed broadly historically, but Murats cavalry massed on the French left wing. The French didn't like the look of the Russian centre at all with is massed 12pdr batteries, so proceeded to attack both Russian wings. On the left, Murats cavalry rode forward against the Russian IInd Corps, the main forces supported by Cossacks and various Italian infantry respectively. The Neapolitan grenadiers surged forward to suport Murats right flank. On the right, Davout and Poniatowski attacked the Russian left. The Russian left proved fairly sturdy and it required the commitment of the Old Guard to finally break them, but not before Davouts Corps had exhausted itself.

On the right Murat and the Italians finally overcame the Cossacks and IInd Corps, but at the expense of grievous losses. The Russian Guard had moved up to support IInd Corps, and in a final dash for glory, Murat led all four cavalry corps in line abreast against the Guard grenadiers. The Russians repulsed the attack and the French cavalry fell back exhausted. The Russians then counterattacked Borodino itself and drove the Italians back in disarray.

On the Russian left, more Grenadiers supported by heavy artillery attempted to hold off the Poles and Imperial Guard as the Russian Guard counterattacked in the centre, driving off both Neys Corps and the Westphalians as their left wing crumbled.

As night fell the only units left with any offensive capability were the Russian Guards and VI Corps, the Poles and the Imperial Guard. Real wargamers armies! The Imperial Guard and the Poles launched a final assault against the Guardsmen holding the redoubts in the centre, the Poles siezing the moment of glory as they advanced through withering cannon fire and turned the Russian Guards left flank, forcing them back. Both armies lay exhausted amongst the indescribable carnage, but the way lay open for the French to resume their advance. Unlike the historical result, in this case the Imperial Guard had been decimated. Phew.

This turned out to be a really good game, very intense, a surprising amount of manouvre given the constricted battlefield and with plenty of decision making and swings of fortune. Kutusov in particular kept falling asleep at the wrong times, and even the mighty Bonaparte seemed to have trouble keeping control of his concentric attacks on both wings - I suggested that with his little legs he couldn't see what was going on. Maybe it just goes to show you don't need to spend weeks preparing a game to have a good time. One very amusing aspect was the way the John 'Napoleon' Armatys kept referring to the the Russians as 'The French', shades of the Crimea there.

In other gaming news, I'm plodding on painting the 2mm WSS stuff I bought at Triples. I've started with the British (well, who wouldn't?) and the techniques I used on the sample figures seem to work OK en masse. My sequence of doing flesh then hats is slightly cumbersome, but I'll see how I get on as the alternatvie is ot do the faces after I've done the hats, and I can see paint going all over the place unless my hands are rock steady. 2mm faces aren't very big to paint, but really add to the look of the figures. Once the British are done, I'll move onto the Bavarians for a change. The curiassiers will be an interesting challenge, I might go with silver breastplates rather than black ones, have to see what looks best.

I've also been inspired by the WW1 operational games and looking at working up some 1914 and 1918 scenarios, the 'Great War' TV series on DVD has been particularly interesting for the latter. Really I want to do a scenario which will involve Whippets and cavalry, as my Whippets have never seen action before.