The Austrians are late…

Been several months since WR’s last trip south to Bob’s garage for a 25/28mm napoleonic game. The scenario setup was 850 points per player, grouped into two team sides, the classic Bob scenario design, only the even points per player level has dropped from 1250 to 850 now since several players have recently expressed a desire for smaller battle format. The contestant nations were Austrians for one side and a group of Franco-Germanic states to oppose them; Saxony, Bavaria, Wurttemberg, Hesse-Darmstadt, the Confederation of the Rhine (CotR), and some French to poke the germans into action.

Team Austria was played by Paul (CinC), Andy, Dave, Ty, and Frank. The 4,250 allocated points were used by Paul to create the Austrian team roster, adding a free reserve Kuirassier division and infantry division (roughly 1,000 points in total) to the Austrian reserve command pool.

Team Franco-Germanic (FG) was played by Rob (CinC), Bob, Dan, WR, and originally Andy, before his transfer to the Kaiserliks team. Same 4,250 points divided by 5 (850) allocated to each player, who roster their own individual commands, with Dan rostering double French points (for Andy and himself). Same reserve commands setup for the Franco-Germanic side. A French cuirassier division and extra French line infantry division for approximately 1,000 points. Total even 5,250 points on each side.

Deployment set up again was a Bob classic line them up and go forward deployment. No hidden commands, no flanking movements, no forward deployment areas, no slow command restrictions, no officer effectiveness rating, no surprises for the players to contend with. The only change was Paul, the Austrian CinC, was delayed by “honey can you do this.. and that…before you leave for the game requests” for a family event that day. So the Austrian deployment was missing several commands in the central deployment position. Naturally, the Franco-Germanic (FG) team took full advantage of the Austrian position for a game shortened victory. A few photographs below convey the tabletop flow during the shorten scenario game.

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Deployment after team Franco-Germanic (FG) first turn block movement. Hole in the Austrian deployment can clearly be seen. Ty, sitting on left, commanded the isolated Austrian commands.

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The FG mass marches forward to advantageous position. the ruin tower atop the hill is the focus of the attack and cut off the counter marching Ty’s left flank exposed commands.

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First general contact and miniature tabletop deployment was on the FG right flank. French and Saxon cavalry with infantry support confront the Austrian left flank cavalry command and counter marching Austrian infantry.

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Lucky 1806 Saxons AAR

Are my recently painted early Imperial era Saxons lucky on the tabletop?

So far they have marched on the tabletop twice, joining the winning side on each occasion without taking almost a miniature loss. Normally WR’s miniatures are known for leading the fight to the opposing side miniatures and taking losses and lumps to achieve their miniature glory for the month. But reviewing their recent photographic proudness shows their ability to win without the normal knock-down requirements of WR’s other armies. Surely this will not continue into their future engagements but for now WR takes note. Time maybe for a battle honor in their storage box? The two recent scenario games in question for the lucky 1806 Saxons are detailed below.

October scenario: French and Bavarians vs. Prussians, Austrians and Saxons

The October even points matched scenario featuring early Imperial French and their Bavarian allies  vs. early 1806 Prussians, some 1815 vintage Prussians, 1809 Austrians, and the allied early period Saxons with a small 1798 Wurttemburg contingent tossed in. Scenario is part of our monthly 3rd Saturday group gaming day in Bob’s Redondo Beach garage. Generalship for the Franco-Bavarian side was Dan (1806 French), Bob and Rob (Bavarian). Their player opponents were John (early 1806 Prussian), Andy (1815 Prussian), Dave (Austrians) and WR playing his early Saxon-Wurttemburg units. A photo after action report of the scenario outcome below.

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Opening deployment with Franco-Bavarians on left, Prussian, Austrians and Saxons on right. Each block represents a command of brigade or divisional size (or a dummy vacate command).

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First tun movements bring the two opposite armies closer. Commander miniatures on block indicate the command block is in “battle ready or mode” formations. No commander miniature means strategic march or reserve mode.

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French vs. Bavarians June 1815

Been a few months since WR reported on the monthly 25 / 28mm napoleonic gaming at Bob’s garage (Redondo Beach, CA). With Bob recently on a long european vacation, including sightseeing the June 18th 200th anniversary of Waterloo and battlefield vicinity for almost a full week, the garage has been quiet from the sound of dice rolling. Well, time has advanced with Bob’s return,  and the dice once again are rolling their favorite numbers to torment the gamers. This month’s napoleonic era scenario was a joint Bob and Dan creation. Dan rostered up the historical eastern French army under General Rapp circa 1815, including those favorites like national guard battalions, vs. Bob’s entire painted full strength OOB Bavarian army, again circa 1815 organization. So we have the opportunity to see Bob’s painted Bavarian kuirassiers, guard grenadiers and those late era jager battalions acting tough against French national guard.

Standard pick up game set up in the garage. Both sides sort of lined up their wooden deployment blocks using 1/3 placement group clusters. Dan placed his first third of French blocks, then Bob his Bavarian, then Dan’s 2nd third of blocks…etc. Each side had one or two dummy commands for placement within their deployment zone. Block deployment was in 1st foot square row and all blocks had available extra 1/2 map movement point to enable the commands, in battle mode, ability to advance quickly forward one square on first move.

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Opening block deployments with French on left side and Bavarians on right side of table. Should note this and all the following pictures can be clicked on and enlarged to full 3MB size.

Terrain was typical Bob layout. Central hill with standard low slopes, a central town cluster of buildings, and scattered woods and low hills. Stream was either 2″ cost or 2″ cost and terrain disorder. Terrain disorder depends on d6 die roll upon 1st unit touching the stream terrain piece. A roll of 1 or 2 meant that stream length was terrain disordering. We marked those stream lengths with a small blue ring.

Team France was Dan (CinC), Daniel, Tim, and Andy. The French army consisted of two cavalry divisions of mixed cavalry types, four line infantry divisions, and three national guard divisions.

Team Bavaria was Bob (CinC), Rob, and the furry WR. Bavarian army had three large infantry divisions each with a cavalry brigade included in their organization, the light cavalry screening division, and the Bavarian reserve or guard division. Tabletop weather was a typical warm & clear So. California beach day. Rainy tabletop days at Bob’s garage are unheard of….;-)

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First Bavarian movement phase completed. The Bavarian army marches forward. Note the arrow small blocks. These extend the command into additional tabletop foot squares.

Note: The tabletop is gridded off into one foot squares (hard to see in the photo). Blocks movement rate based upon command type (infantry, cavalry, etc), if in strategic or battle mode, and entering terrain costs. This is summarized in this link on the WR blog:  Block Movement. Continue reading

Austro-Sardinians hold!

Last month the monthly napoleonic, French Revolutionary game really, was a bit of a fiasco for the French. The French deployed to engage the Austro-Sardinian forces arrayed against the advance French under General Bonaparte himself. The Austro-Sardinian army, centrally positioned on a large hill, extended their open left flank by occupying some vineyards. The French, seeing the Austro-Sardinian deployment, elected to use their flanking command option and also set up on the Sardinian half of the battlefield. Hoping for an early arrival of the flanking French column and pressure on the Sardinians, the French under General Bonaparte (Bob CinC), along with his Italian campaign generals (Daniel and Ty), sought a “grand bulletin” defeat of the their opponents. French advantages included excellent commanders, almost the entire army could skirmish in some way, and tabletop mobility. Plus they have a flanking column to appear on the Austro-Sardinian flank.

For the Austro-Sardinian under FML Alvinczy (Dave CinC and WR), the plan was simple. Hold the heights, control the central town and support the Sardinian half of the army with the Austrian reserve if needed.  With stronger cavalry forces and static positions, the French will have to force the Austro-Sardinians from their positions. GM note: Dave didn’t know about the French flanking ability till their arrival.

As the morning sun rose, the players were told there is fog across the battlefield. Maximum visibility is one square or 12″ on the tabletop. A 6D roll every French turn… if a six rolled, the fog dissipates and the day becomes clear weather for reminder of scenario. French drum beats and silly French singing heard…. the scenario begins.

Peaceful Piedmont before the smoke of battle. the wooden blocks have been deployed. French on right, Austro-Sardinians on left.

Peaceful Piedmont before the smoke of battle. The wooden blocks have been deployed. French on right, Austro-Sardinians on left. Bob still needs to “camouflage” his blocks. Foggy weather.

While the French slowly advanced to control the smaller hill, the Austro-Sardinian mass advance forward to secure the vineyard, central town and forward slope of the larger hill. Contact was quickly made in the foggy weather so the leading commands placed upon the tabletop (adjacent foot tabletop squares).

As the armies draw close (adjacent map or tabletop squares), the miniatures are placed on the tabletop. Here the Austro-Sardinian front commands deploy.

As the armies draw close (adjacent map or tabletop foot squares), the miniatures are placed on the tabletop. Here the Austro-Sardinian front commands deploy.

French firmly controlled the smaller hill as the Sardinians below sorted themselves out in the tangle of vineyard rows. Two French infantry divisions (one slightly larger than the other) and attached mixed cavalry brigade formed the French right flank.

The French (2 divisions plus cavalry) host before the Sardinians are deployed. They control the hill above the vineyard position.

The French host deploys atop the hills and before the Sardinians positioned in the lower vineyard (2 divisions plus some mixed cavalry).

Facing the French the Sardinians deployed both their mixed infantry and cavalry commands. Eleven battalions of infantry and two cavalry regiments in each command. But with limited skirmisher capability, only one light battalion in each command, the Sardinians will need to keep their battalions stationary to allow “improvised skirmisher” deployment. Continue reading

Multiple Tables Scenario AAR

This month the napoleonic group tried out the recently written up “Multiple Tables scenario” format for our monthly group December game. The scenario had two different side by side tabletop games (Tables A & B) running at the same time with the possibility of units exiting one rear edge table zone and entering the other table in a flanking position.

For team WR the armies involved were Austrian (Dave and Paul) and late period Bavarian (Bob, Daniel and WR). Austrians fielded their advanced guard division (mixed cavalry and light battalions), two-line divisions and corps headquarters (2000 points) for defending Table A. The Bavarians with 2600 points attacked on Table B with three infantry divisions, a small light cavalry division and Bavarian corps HQ. Should be noted that each of the Bavarian infantry divisions had two regiments of attached cavalry so the Bavarians had a marked advantage of cavalry against their Dutch and Polish opponents.

The opponents had French (Tim and Dan) and Kingdom of Holland (Ty and Andy) with attached Polish infantry. The French were the superior force against the Austrians with four infantry divisions, two light cavalry brigades, and reserve cuirassier division plus two corps headquarters (2600 points) on Table A. The defending Dutch with their Polish (DOW) allies had two Dutch infantry divisions, a Franco-Dutch light cavalry division and the Poles fielded an infantry division against the massed Bavarians on Table B.

Multiple Tables scenario design notes (link): Multiple Tables scenario

Starting deployment zone on each table was up to two squares in from the rear edge. Our wooden block movement system was used to create uncertainly on command type and unit strength. Dave and Paul’s Austrians had their advance guard division positioned in the center woods and line infantry division alongside guarding the LOC road exit. The remaining Austrian infantry division was reserve positioned behind the woods to march against the main axis of the French advance. The French split their corps with Tim’s two French infantry divisions crossing the castle hill led by his French light cavalry brigade screening in front. Dan’s French occupied the other half of the table with two infantry division forming his front lines and backed by the other French light cavalry brigade. Off board was the French cuirassier division strategically withheld to keep the Austro-Bavarians guessing which tabletop zone they would appear in.

Wooden block movement system (link): Block Movement system

Table A. The starting positions for Austrian vs. French scenario table.

Table A. The starting positions for Austrian (at left) vs. French (on right) scenario table.

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Battle of Sacile 1809 Revisited AAR

Battle of Sacile 1809 seems to be a reoccurring scenario for the WR. I wrote up the scenario back in January 2012 for a HMGS-PSW convention game, played to a French win per Sacile 1809 AAR posted February 2012. Used the same scenario for a Strategicon convention at LAX February 2013 for an Austrian win. This past month, pending a late decision on the monthly game at Bob’s garage (every third saturday in Manhattan beach CA), WR suggested Sacile 1809. A pre-made package 1809 scenario, somewhat balanced in forces and a fun scenario with ebb and flow of forces. We had miniatures in abundance between the arriving gamers, including newly painted French 1809 era infantry divisions by Paul and Dan, eager for the tabletop stress of battle. So Sacile 1809 it was and this post game AAR written up.

Sacile Preview report posted in January 2012 covers the forces, rosters, terrain, and scenario notes (link): Sacile 1809 Preview.

First a duplicated copy of the scenario terrain map for reader to understand the terrain  then the description of opening 0900 hours starting positions for both sides.

Battle of Sacile tabletop map without command counters.

Battle of Sacile 1809 tabletop map without command counters. Scenario tabletop was 6′ x 8′ with each map square 12 inches.

0900 hours (Scenario start): The drying out northern Italian countryside was peaceful until the sounds of mud laden feet in unison is heard. The French Army of Northern Italy, under Viceroy Eugene de Beauharnais, is on the march during the early morning hours, hoping to catch the Austrian Army of Italy, under Archduke Johann aka WR, in the flank or unprepared for battle. The early stages of scenario battle are set for the massed appearance of several French infantry divisions, along with light cavalry support, upon the Austrian advance guard command near Procia. Awaken by signal musketry, the Austrian advance guard division under GM Frimont deploys quickly for battle. Some fusilier battalions positioned around or in Procia, other grenzer battalions skirmishing against the fast advancing 1st Italian division (GD Severoli). A small Austrian cavalry brigade under GM Splenyi (just off the table) is quickly summoned to apply pressure on the open right flank of nearby supporting French 1st division (GD Seras).

Morning wakes at 0900 hours with Austrian advanced guard and outposts spotting the French divisional command blocks entering the tabletop from right side.

Morning wakes at 0900 hours with Austrian advanced guard and outposts spotting the French divisional command blocks entering the tabletop from right side.

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French & Allies vs. Russians 1812 era

June 28th had our monthly southern napoleonic group gather at Bob’s in Redondo beach CA. A warm California beach city day greeted the gamers who arrived early to set up the terrain and pull the miniatures. Ty and Dan had arranged the pre-game miniature forces for each side with 5300 points of Russians and similar for the French, Polish and Westphalians team. Terrain was typical “Bob table”; low hills, a center board town and a basic stream. Medium grade woods or hedged fields dotted the open expanses of the tabletop. Weather was clear for the tabletop scenario, just like the actual California beach city weather outside.

Russians OOB: Three infantry corps consisting of one grenadier and five line infantry divisions in total, each of 12 battalions plus two artillery batteries. Two dragoon, two light cavalry and one kuirassier division completed the Russian regular forces. Toss in three cossack brigades to tease the French with. Overall pretty standardized stuff for the Russians.

French OOB: French corps of three infantry divisions and attached light cavalry brigade. Duchy of Warsaw (Polish) corps had two infantry divisions and light cavalry division. Westphalian corps had two infantry divisions, a small guard brigade, and attached light cavalry brigade. In reserve was French light cavalry and cuirassier divisions.

Wooden tabletop blocks were used for initial dispositions. A Russian flanking cavalry force (light cavalry and kuirassier divisions) entered from the far distant table side edge. A similar Polish flanking force (infantry and light cavalry divisions) entered from the near table side edge (off photo). Information on our wooden block rules.

Opening positions of the wooden blocks. French & Allies on left, russians to right.

Opening positions of the command wooden blocks. French & Allies on left, Russians to right. Table size is 24′ x 6′. Steam is 2″ cross in movement, no disorder effect.

During the third game turn (1st hour) the central tabletop block forces moved into sighting and deployment range. Time to place the actual miniatures on the tabletop.

Interesting game play note was the senior CinC for both sides used their commander miniature to scout out the enemy forces and no ADC scouts were deployed by either side. Continue reading