Sunday, 17 September 2017

The War of the Spanish Succession: The Battle of Oudenarde July 11th 1708 (Part 4) The Ground was Soaked in Blood

As fire and fury erupted in the infantry conflict for the village a more stately procession of squadron after squadron of horse arrayed themselves to the north of Groenenwald, In fact the French had so many horse they sent away a full two regiments to their left flank where the Dragoons of John Churchill were making so much mischief. A decision they bitterly regretted later (see below):

The French were quite happy to play the defensive and form a front to await the outcome of the infantry assault. The Prussian General in turn deployed his cavalry within charge range of the French ti tempt them forwards. Still the French did not come so a  unit of Prussian Dragoons were sent north of the windmill to outflank the French wing. As it stood the Prussians had a tactical advantage of the "charge" bonus and of the attached leadership of a General. Sensing the hour of need was at hand, with his orders to support the Hanoverian infantry to his right and seeing the intent French on pressing their infantry attack in the centre the Prussian General attached himself to the lead cavalry unit and committed unto a desperate charge (see below, yes the French commander at this moment was regretting sending those "extra" horse away to the other flank):

The cavalry line was engulfed with furious hand to hand fighting. After the charge the results seemed to be swinging towards the Allied side as the French were more disordered. As a means using them rather than losing them, the French committed to a cavalry charge against the Hanoverian line infantry to support the final heave of their infantry against the village of Groenewald. With both flanks secured they Hanoverian landsers held fast (see below):  

Meanwhile after more hand-to-hand combat the French cavalry were bested, either being routed or left in disorder. The battle was not over by a long margin but the immediate danger of a central collapse of the Allied line was averted. Eyes turned back to the French Infantry battling in the town to see that they too had been repulsed in their final attack and were reforming, unlike their cavalry who had been scattered (see below):

The Allied line looked much more ordered than the French who were bunched in a compressed salient, hindering each others effective deployment. The danger being that a simple reverse would ripple disorder through the ranks as retreating troops fell back on fresh. The French commander had a worried air about himself at this point. The Allied infantry were ponderously trying to close the door between the central village (Groenewald) and the "windmill" (which unhelpfully had lost its sails) [middle left in the photo] to twist their disadvantaged dangerous "L" into a battle winning position (see below):

The two French regiments of horse reappear from their futile traverse of the French lines to face off the enthused and victorious Prussians who are screening the advancing Allied infantry. The French infantry (now two brigades) although not disordered and are still "packed together" (see below):

With the "crisis" of defence passed, Marlborough now pondered the point of his attack. Additional French reinforcements can be seen moving up in the background. Now was teh time to press the Allied advantage.

Friday, 15 September 2017

The War of the Spanish Succession: The Battle of Oudenarde July 11th 1708 (Part 3) O' Fortuna

There then came to the matter of a small village. They, the French had it, and we sir wanted it and that was the matter of it. The men in scarlet advanced, there was disorder all round and the smoke of battle made the scene quite intense (see below, the French and British infantry come to grips with one another):

For a moment the French looked to have the better of it as they regained their order and pressed forwards (see below, the British are stalled and the French battalion has regained its initial composure and a fresh new French brigade of infantry can be seen advancing menacingly):

At this moment John Churchill (Allied C-in-C) stepped forwards and commanded a column of mounted Dragoons to come timely at the gallop and charge the French infantry while they disposed in line and vulnerable to such a swift move. The French infantry in local command were entirely focused upon their British infantry they were too late in coming to aware of this new danger. They broke and fled back into the village whence they first came (see below the action of the charge):

Although the local danger had passed and one jaw of death had been averted the fresh French infantry brigade posed a second jaw even more dangerous (see below the French infantry battalion is scattered but the British line is in disarray):

With the dexterity of a great captain of antiquity Marlborough straitened his lines, withdrawing his cavalry to a useful reserve position but despite his best efforts the "L" of the Allies looked very vulnerable. The whole defensive position depended upon a garrisoned village of Groenewald holding its nerve in teh battle to come (see below, if Groenewald falls [in the centre of the battlefield] the flanks of both Allied brigades would be mercilessly exposed )

It is at this very point the French Commander hurls the fresh French infantry newly arrived on the battlefield. The smoke of battle once again engulfs the field of play (see below, without the expedience of time for a softening up barrage with artillery the French go in):

This gentlemen is warfare in "The Age of Reason", mathematical but more the bloody for its application.

Next: The Dark Heart of the Matter

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Arghh .. Bit Rot

I bought them long ago. I first (with my sensible head on) tried them all to see that they all "worked" then put them back on the shelf for that rainy day when I would need them.

Then that rainy day came and I slipped the CD into the computer and .. nothing, Data .. what data? Sigh. Bit rot?

To be precise I cannot see my Wargames Illustrated CD 3 (The Green One).

Sad face!

The bizarre thing is that I was not searching for an article but for an Old Glory advert which (if my befuddled memory serves me well) showed some 15mm 1815 French Line Infantry. I wanted to use that as a basis of a painting guide. That info I can get from "other" internet image searches however that's not the point.

Instead of "painting" I find myself backing up what I still have on the "old" CDs to an external hard drive to 'make it last longer'. Oh for the cloud in this scenario! There is currently a lot of chunking from my computer's CD Drive to external Hard Drive going on just now!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Missed it but it appeared to be a very good one!

UK Connections 2017 has come and gone. It looked to be a brilliant one judging by the blog posts and write ups:

Interestingly they made the BBC News:

Past Perspectives (MegaGame Designers):

Bob Cordery:

PaxSims (Rex):

I am looking forward to the post-conference lecture slides and audio to be uploaded to their site:

Of interest already is their Introduction to Wargaming download (if you do not know who was Von Rieswitz was then take a sneak peek at slide 5 and find out):

Sadly one of those events I would have loved to have gone to but logistics and time away from the family forbade it :(

Monday, 7 August 2017

The War of the Spanish Succession: The Battle of Oudenarde July 11th 1708 (Part 2) Blood is Spilled

The dismounted Dragoons do their bit and give the Bavarian's a nasty surprise (see below):

All is going to plan the Bavarian's are discomforted but have extended out to match the British frontage. A rather ominous brigade formation of French Infantry can be seen in the distance. It has emerged having crossed the French held river bank and is the first sign of French reinforcements (see below):

The Bavarian's charge home with half their force in disorder (see below):

The first round of combat merely serves to disorder the furthest British unit, but a ripe chance is missed to rout the disordered Bavarian unit (a disordered unit that loses a melee routs). The dismounted British Dragoons try and cause 'insult to injury' as the Bavarian cavalry continue with the second round of melee home, but "aim high" (see below):

The swirling melee results in the disordered cavalry of both sides being routed. The "Hinge Factor" here being the remaining British unit is disorder but not the remaining Bavarian. The British unit finds itself in mortal peril (see below):

It all hangs in the balance as a third round of cavalry combat ensues as the British Infantry relentlessly pursue the retreating Swiss who fall back to a French Battalion holding the next hamlet (see middle right of photo). The Allied Hanoverian Brigade can be seen (bottom of the photo) in column and deploying in line to form the centre of the Allied line of battle. The French reinforcements, fresh cavalry and infantry, are clearly visible in the top of the photograph. (see below):

John Churchill (Marlborough) is keen to press the advantage and orders and immediate attack. The resulting firefight checks the first British Infantry battalion. The Swiss meanwhile rally from rout and disorder and form a second line behind the French Infantry (see below):

These early battles are setting the scene as Marlborough (me) is keen to push forward risking gaps and flanks to gain the advantage of a faster rate of deployment, while the wily French general is happy to 'play for time by trading ground and shortening his lines of communication' and slow the British down hoping they will "over extend themselves".

Next: Feeding the Fire

The War of the Spanish Succession: The Battle of Oudenarde July 11th 1708 (Part 1) Opening Moves

The battlefield devoid of troops. Marlborough is trying to steal a march on his French opponent. This is an encounter battle with both sides feeding troops in piecemeal (see below):

The Allied deployment, the British Infantry Brigade (middle right) and supporting Cavalry Brigade (bottom left). The enemy (a battalion of Swiss in French pay annoyingly also wearing "red") lie astride the road and must be pushed aside. Far behind them is a force of French (actually Bavarian) Cavalry (see below):

The French deployment as seen from the Bavarian Cavalry looking as the Swiss who are all out on their own (see below):

A small matter of some Swiss (on the right) standing in the way of the Allied Army, or rather British, (on the left). The battle gets off to a hectic start (see below, as stated before the Swiss are confusingly also wearing red uniforms too):

The firefight starts, a whole Allied (British) Brigade of four infantry battalions against one small Swiss unit (a single battalion) in a village (see below):

As the firefight rages Marlborough deploys his "horse" in a wide movement to secure his flanks against the French "horse" he knows about (see below):

To the relief of Marlborough the The Swiss are quickly "routed". Speed is of the essence if the French are to be stymied in their deployment (see below):

The Swiss can be seen running away, the British in pursuit and more units of the Allied army (Hanoverian) deploy (see below):

The cavalry formations square off, two "impact cavalry" regiments aside position themselves just outside of mutual charge ranges. A Mexican standoff as neither sides wants to lose the advantage of being the "charger". The British "fan out" into extended line while the Bavarian has the more compact supported line. The canny Allied Commander tries the ruse of sending his Dragoons to dismount and take position in the village to enfilade the French (aka Bavarian) in order cavalry to precipitate the French to charge home disadvantaged (aka disrupted) into his extended formation (see below):

The drawback is that the British have to commit to come into range of the enemy cavalry first.

Next: First Blood

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Blood Red Skies: Battle of Britain Skirmish (1940)

A German Flight Leader (Skill 3) with his Wingman (Skill 2) somewhere over Kent (see below):

The enemy, a pair of Spitfires, are spotted in the distance. The German Wingman is hot off the mark (gaining altitude and claiming 'advantageous position', despite being the lower skill level, while the Flight Leader (dice, argh) is a step behind 'neutral - no advantage' (see below):

The formations close and the Spitfires are both in 'advantageous positions'. The RAF have a Leader (Skill 3) and his Wingman (Skill 2) pilots (see below):

The British Wingman who was slightly better placed after the British angled in for the attack, "burns his advantage" to perform a 180 degree turn and the sleepy German Flight Leader suddenly has a Spitfire on his tail and goes to "disadvantaged".

Note: A "converted" single hit on the Me 109 in this position would kill it!

The British attack is accurate but the German pilot dodges it with a skill roll, nevertheless this close miss causes a morale (boom chit) to be acquired. The German Force morale is only "two", one more would mean the Luftwaffe would have to break off (see the "Pathe Newsreel" action shot below):

The Germans decide to scatter, the Me 109's run for cover and regroup "behind" the British Leader. He is not worried as he is in an "advantageous" position and 'out of reach' of the German guns (see below, positioning is always relative to the state of the plane:advantage - neutral - disadvantaged. Generally you need to be in the same or better state to conduct an attack):

The German force splits putting them at a seriously tactical handicap as the Leader no longer has a Wingman to cover his tail. In fact the earlier positioning of the German Wingman was at fault because the Spitfire managed to get on the German Flight Leaders tail (ooops, sorry boss my bad!). The Spitfires roar off in pursuit knowing one more "boom chit" is all they need to secure a good victory (see below, it's not looking too good for the German Luftwaffe):

The Spitfires queue up for the killing shot, out of range for a deflection shot this turn,with the British leader hoping to get a 'tail' and killing shot next turn. The British Wingman climbs for an "advantageous position" just in case his boss misses (see below):

"Bang! Bang! Bang!" 20mm canon strikes the around the British Leader's plane. "Where the hell did that come from? Where the hell is my Wingman?" Did anyone notice the retreating German Wingman had quietly climbed to an "advantageous position"? Planes in advantage go fist, but the British Wingman didn't cover the Leaders tail from behind but moved in after the German Leader. That left the German Wingman an opportunity to burn his advantage, flip his plane and perform a turn grater than 90 degrees (in fact anything up to 180 degrees) and with full throttle he is on the Spitfire's "six". As the Spitfire was in a neutral position the Me 109 on his tail puts him to disadvantaged. One "boom chit" straight away but a very important pilot skill/plane manoeuvrability roll to make or the British Leader will be going down (see below):

Six dice (pilot skill 3 + Spitfire manoeuvre rating) are rolled and a single six will save the Spitfire, odds on, but the day goes to the Luftwaffe as flames envelope the Spitfire. That awards a second "boom chit". It is all too much for the British Wingman and he heads for home, discretion being the better part of valour now,  after all he a relative "rookie" and is seriously out numbered two to one (see below):

Wow I never expected that! Intense is not the word for it. Go download the free rules and play it is my advice ;) Meanwhile after rummaging in the attic I find that my hoarding talent for "something that might come in useful one day" has paid off in the 1/144 aircraft department (see below, I seem to have stocked up with cheap Revell 1/144 and interesting Zevezda 1/144 planes):

Wartime "Battle of Britain" (model) aircraft production is now commencing!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

"Blood Red Skies": Me 109's Continued

Stage 1: Airfix Primer Undercoat (see below):

Stage 2: Vallejo Brown Wash (see below):

Brown Wash Close-Up (see below):

Stage 3-5: Yellow Nose and Grey Camo Markings (see below):

Stage 6: Decals (see below):

Staffel Painting Progress (see below):

Staffel consolidation and unique markings (see below):
Useful web links:

Stage 7: Paint in early (aka Battle of Britain) Canopy Strut (see below):

Next: Varnish - Matte, Satin or Gloss?

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Go Tell It to the Spartans (in 15mm) Part 1 Painting description

My 15mm Spartan Army needs an upgrade. As per many DBA armies they came from the "minimum number of packs of figures" because I paint slow attitude. The first rank of the "phalanx" are from three packets of Chariot Miniatures HOG20 traverse Spartan crest, which means they are all officers. This bugs me so a while back (read years ago) I got some normal hoplites to "add variety". The time has come to paint them (see below):

Coated in my preferred primer *Airfix 01 Grey Undercoat) then experimented bringing in a technique I used in 28mm figure painting. A brown wash (Vallejo) which softened the edges followed by a black wash to add definition (see below)

Next I shade coloured the figure, but learning from Tabletop Minions on a previous post. I intend to paint as few layers as possible to leave the metal as c;lean as possible. So I intend to put down a strong mid-tome and minimal highlight (see below, base coated):

If this goes well I will have another four more bases of officers to spread out into sixteen bases of hoplites ;) I only hope the new style of painting goes with the old style of painting.