Title of this post seems a bit weird but we had several new or unusual armies take to the tabletop for our late March game. Both Tim’s mid and late war Spanish and Bob’s 1809 Bavarian 28mm armies are fresh from the painting department while WR fielded some of his large Ottoman collection. Congratulations to Tim and Bob with their new sharp-looking 28mm armies as seen in the following posted photos. Should be noted our long-standing Southern California player group has almost every napoleonic 25/28mm army painted and ready for tabletop action. On to our March group scenario…
Players had their choice of nationality with predetermined points (1500) and GM’d by Bob for team sides. WR wanted to use something different and offbeat so the natural choice was Ottomans… either his Ottoman Empire (European) or go further out with his Ottoman Islamic States miniatures. In the end Daniel and WR covered both styles of Ottomans with a combined Ottoman horde for the tabletop.
Nationalities and forces: Team “Fez” consisted of WR and Daniel with Ottomans (five Infantry “divisions so to speak”, three light provincial cavalry groups, two provincial sipahi cavalry groups, a small Levant Janissaries division and two artillery commands. Bob joined with his new 1809 Bavarians (of three mixed infantry / cavalry brigades), and Fred and Greg fielded Imperial French with four infantry divisions and two light cavalry brigades. Our opponents were Rob and Paul with English / Portuguese (three infantry divisions and the famous light division but no cavalry). Tim commanded his new Spanish infantry and cavalry divisions, Andy had two Austrian infantry divisions and their light/mixed division. Ty held the left flank with two Russian infantry and light cavalry division.
Terrain was familiar Bob terrain with a few more isolated farms and a nice hill farm for the Ottoman artillery batteries. The Ottomans promptly claimed and sent their unarmed “shovels” to dig their artillery batteries behind a low earthen wall.
Set up: For Friends of the Fez our deployment had the Ottoman wing on the left flank. On their right and next to the Ottomans was Bob’s new 1809 Bavarians in the center of the tabletop then both Fred and Greg playing Imperial French on the right flank. Our opponents deployed their English army (Paul and Rob) opposite to the Ottomans, placed Tim’s new Spanish against the Ottomans and partially the Bavarians. Andy’s Austrians faced the remainder of the Bavarians and Ty’s Russians alone against the French. So the initial deployment created some uneven or unusual opportunities for both sides.
Tim elected to lead his new Spanish with his militia infantry division, followed by his cavalry division, while the forefront Ottoman sekhan units swarmed behind the small center village. The Ottoman entrenched artillery battery opened fire with their 18lb siege like cannon, causing some losses in the Spanish militia ranks. The Ottoman “shovel unit” encouraged the topcu gunners by waving their wooden shovels in the air as a unit of zembuk camel gunners retired from the front.
Note: We use three classifications for entrenched positions. Class I position is basic low un-reinforced and without timber/gabion backed earthen wall. Simply tossed soil piled in front. Class II position has earthen rampart and backed by supportive timbers or gabions. Class III is “artillery proofed” earthen position with some overhead protective cover. Siege type trenches are equivalent to class II positions. Redoubts are class II positions and are treated like buildings for all round defense and maximum 200% shock combat odds.
Out on the French right flank their two light cavalry brigades quickly crossed the hill and preparing to charge the approaching Russian light cavalry. Behind the French light cavalry the French infantry wooden block advanced in battle mode formations. Bavarian command located besides the French near the hill tower position as Andy’s Austrians are seen in the distance.
Note: We have three modes of movement in our games: 1) Battle mode; the unit is ready for action, formed into their proper ranks and can be in any allowed formations (linear, column, square, open order skirmisher, or limbered / unlimbered artillery). 2) Strategic mode; which means the units are in loose marching formations and not ready for immediate combative actions. These units start automatically in morale disorder status if tested for morale tests and must be in proper column or limbered artillery. 3) Road Strategic mode; same as Strategic mode except the formation is narrow column along a road or pathway. We mark the status by placing an officer / commander miniature on those blocks if in battle mode. Otherwise the wooden block, without the officer miniature, is assumed to be in strategic mode.
The French light cavalry charges, wins and loses their engagements. After the charges are done the Russian light cavalry appears to remain on the hill slope with a horse 6lb battery.
In the center the Ottomans are hiding behind the small village (2 buildings) as their allied Bavarians march up the near hill slope screened by a couple of Bedouin irregular horse units. The Spanish mass of militia infantry forms up under the loud artillery bombardment by the Ottoman topcu gunners as their supportive cavalry trots forward. Austrian mixed brigade holds the opposite slope of the hill before the advancing Bavarians.
Facing the English advance, the Ottoman army and their entrenched battery test out the range with a few cannon firings. Another zembuk camel gunner unit trots out to prepare and dismount as a skirmisher screen. Both sides have undisclosed blocks just out of effective scout information range. More waving and cheers from the local “shovel unit”.
As Spanish approach in the distance, a fine view of the Ottoman basic sekhan infantry, their fearless Pasha leader “flying on the carpet*” and soon to be deployed wooden block of Ottoman provincial light Kurdish / Anatolian cavalry. The while robed unit near center are the “shovel people”.
Note: WR tends to have a “national character” piece for each of his major power armies. For the Ottomans I painted a Pasha leader flying about on his carpet. My Spanish have a “priest and choir boys” procession. Russians have their “War and Peace Pierre Bezukhov with hat” and soon an Icon procession. English will have Wellington and his hounds. French have a cantiniere wagon or guillotine complete with the knitting ladies. Just need to find a suitable Prussian and Austrian themed miniature character(s) now. All for amusement purposes but the Spanish priests have been known to influence the morale test dice roll.
Spanish rush towards the village. Musketry between the opposing skirmisher screens as the formed infantry masses await their movements. Ottoman Anatolian light cavalry back up their sekhan infantry.
While the Spanish threaten the peaceful activities of the Ottomans near the village, the English light division riflemen and their light battalion supports are soon sniping away at the Ottoman irregular infantry armed with their long-barreled muskets (or matchlocks).
Massed French infantry, in double lines, appear after their tabletop deployment and slowly advance on the outnumbered Russian infantry. If the Ottomans on the other flank can hold up the English, the French should defeat or push-off the tabletop these Russians.
The English, Spanish, Austrian and Russian players (l to r) are Paul, Rob, Tim, Andy, Ty and Paul with cap (standing as a visitor for the game day).
The Friends of Fez team (l to r) are Fred, Greg, Bob, Daniel and missing WR.
Team Fez…. WR in person under the crimson fez with tassel.
Back to the action commentary. While the English skirmish under the Ottoman cannon, the cannon in reply bombard the slow advancing English and Portuguese squares. Zembuk camel gunners are ready to ride forth and dismount with their swivel cannon. Always wondered how the camel felt with those cannon firing…
Formed English infantry, in squares facing the massed provincial sipahi cavalry, advance on the Ottoman Islamic state army. Both sides have their skirmishers before their main battle lines.
In the center, the Spanish cavalry declare successive charges in column. Scattering the foremost Ottoman sekhan infantry, they charge home on some provincial Kurdish / Anatolian light cavalry, forcing them to retreat, then carry into some Ottoman formed sekhan infantry. Tim’s Spanish are doing well as 1813 era Spanish. Bob’s new 1809 Bavarian infantry at right near the hill slope. Ottomans want some of that “cornflower blue” material for their “uniforms”.
With their mounts tired, the Spanish cavalry pull up amidst the Ottoman sekhan infantry horde. The Spanish cavalry will soon retire slowly (due to being blown and disordered status) under Ottoman musketry from the buildings, losing a few more miniatures in the process. As the Spanish cavalry retires, the Ottoman infantry regroup and presses forward back into the village.
Out on the left flank the English squares are under stress from the Ottoman provincial artillery. Skirmisher screens are engaging in close range firefight. Time to redeploy the Ottoman provincial sipahi out towards the open left flank and let the arab infantry position themselves for the English infantry.
The opposite right flank has the massed French infantry marching forward across the low hill. Cavalry for each side has cleared away except for two French cavalry regiments which can be seen charging the open flank of the Austrian infantry. This charge will cause the Austrians much discomfort, chasing away their supportive cavalry, and assist the Bavarians in destroying the Austrian front later.
English viewpoint of the Ottoman masses before them. Interesting tactic to combine an English and Portuguese battalion in one larger square Paul and Rob.
Note: WR wonders if mixed nationalities would form combined squares? I sense unit and language command problems would prevent but the rules permit till further group discussion. Morale tests are based upon the best unit in the square formation.
Spanish view of the surging Ottomans behind the village as Tim’s militia infantry attempts to seize the building by column assaults. Other Spanish militia battalions engage the flank of the Bavarians crossing the low hill slope while some Austrians lend their lukewarm assistance.
View of the Bavarians crossing the low hill and engaging the Austrians frontal with musketry and artillery bombardment. Bavarian cavalry works their way forward to charge the Austrian lines. Will Andy see the looming charge threat? Ottoman sekhan infantry have advanced into the village again.
Firmly positioned on the low artillery hill, Ottoman sekhan infantry await the distant English and Portuguese division while skirmishers engage in sporadic musketry. Picture shows the two flanking Ottoman artillery positions with their freshly dug representative earthworks.
While the Ottoman provincial sipahi ride out towards the open flank, the arab infantry deploys under the eye of their pink coat commander. Another Ottoman arab infantry horde will soon join the first group….shades of the later Sudan 1880’s wars maybe?
Russian viewpoint of the descending French infantry held back by weak Russian skirmisher screens for now. Slowly the Russians are giving ground and abandoning the farm area but show a strong front to the French.
A quick infantry shock charge and the Bedouin tribal skirmishers run back towards their arab infantry support. The English will seek to advance across the cleared open ground distance on their next movement phase while the Ottoman arab infantry mills about in true Ottoman fashion.
Back in the village the Ottoman sekhan are attacking out of the village against the weakened Spanish militia infantry. The Spanish cavalry will have to return quickly and charge these bold Ottomans. The Bavarian infantry mass continues to gain ground against the Austrian position.
With a quick skirmisher forward movement and the supportive squares marching forward, the English infantry are continuing their slow advance while under the Ottoman artillery fire. Ottomans arab infantry are still shifting about near the pond. The provincial 2nd rate Janissary command (6 Orta) are deployed behind the artillery hill position to give the English something to think on.
Having cleared the village of Spanish, the Ottoman sekhan push forward against the Spanish positions while the brave defenders of artillery hill prepare against the approaching English division. Ottoman artillery is starting to run low on shot so they slowly become conservative with their firings. An English light battalion closes their ranks, then assaults the Ottoman skirmishers lining the farm hedge position, chasing them away during the following shock combat phase.
Note: WR uses an artillery supply system…..Basically every time the cannon fires one mark off one roundshot (RS) or one canister shot from the available pool. Ottoman non-seige artillery has a random component to determine the available shots. If a battery expends all their allocated shots then the battery uses the low ammunition supply firepower modifier (reducing firepower to 25% effect) till end of the battle or a train unit positions itself adjacent for a stationary turn.. Artillery Ammo Chart
Bavarian infantry, massing cavalry, and their supportive artillery batteries are pressing Andy’s Austrian infantry. They are not prepared to receive a sudden charge by the Bavarian cavalry.
While the French infantry clear the Russians from the farm and open field, the remaining French infantry form columns and impact the Russian skirmisher lines. A Russian dragoon regiment rides forward and calls their charge to disrupt the French infantry advance. The charge will slow and cause some morale tests against the French infantry battalions.
Note: Movements within a declared or opportunity charge zone are done at half rate. The cavalry charge zone extends the distance of normal movement (12″-16″) and angle of 22.5 degrees (each side) from the frontal facing of the Russian dragoon regiment.
Ottoman sekhan continue their advance forward gaining some more ground from the Spanish position. Spanish cavalry performs regimental charges to slow and engage the exposed Ottoman infantry. Till Tim commits his reserve Spanish line infantry division, the Spanish position is crumbling slowly.
Too late…. the Bavarian cavalry rides forward, quickly checking their linear ranks, they sound the charge into the Austrian infantry lines. No preformed squares or battalions masses seen in the Austrian formations. Bavarian cavalry may soon rip a huge hole in the Austrian formations unless Andy is “lucky” with his morale tests (to receive the charge out of square). After the Bavarian cavalry has finished their charges and retired, the positioned Bavarian artillery will crush the remaining Austrian battalions within range.
While the Bavarian cavalry thunders forward and the Austrian infantry test morale, the Ottomans, with infantry and light cavalry, leak out of the village to threaten briefly the advancing English division. The Ottoman artillery falls silent due to low remaining ammunition. Where is the stone ball cutter shouts the Ottoman artillery officer?
Laughing off the Ottoman charge threat the English infantry forms line and dares the Ottoman provincial light cavalry to charge home. Thinking twice and quickly, the Ottoman cavalry “pump fakes” their charge and pulls up short of the English musketry. This allows the remaining Ottoman artillery ammunition to be fired directly into the English infantry ranks from their hill-top position.
Andy is so lucky…. his foremost battalions all pass their miracle morale checks and promptly form into their individual squares before the Bavarian charging cavalry impacts. Unfortunately the supporting Austrian battalions, behind the front battalions, didn’t pass their charge morale tests and several of them routed to the rear, causing additional morale tests for broken and fleeing friends nearby.
Having charge with the Russian dragoons, the Russians know their time is short on the tabletop. The French recover their composure and reform their ranks as the two side battle with their cavalry regiments on the open flank.
Bavarian cavalry bounces off the steady Austrian infantry squares while their supportive battalions are in morale disorder disarray or routing. Even the Bavarian cavalry commander was wounded in the charge. When the dust clears, the exposed Austrian infantry soon is gutted and raked by the unlimbered Bavarian cannon. Somehow in all of this a lone Ottoman Bedouin irregular cavalry unit charges the open flank of an unlimber Austrian battery… and overran the battery!
With their center position Spanish and Austrians in poor shape, the Russians slowly being forced from the tabletop and the English still to engage the Ottoman left flank, the Allied team side offer a solid victory to the Franco-Bavarian-Ottoman “Team Fez” alliance.
Thank you to Bob for hosting the monthly napoleonic game at his garage. WR also thanks all the players who spent their saturday pushing miniatures, rolling dice and sometimes cursing their poor luck. After handshakes and small talk, the final task of returning the miniatures to their storage boxes and table pickup will commence. Next month WR travels to the local HMGS-PSW Horse and Musket era mini-convention and stages his Battle of Alexandria 1801 scenario. All players are welcome to join in the HMGS-PSW events.
A galley of the pictures used in this blog post:
Cheers from the warren.