Tuesday 31 December 2019

French Army for Blücher Completish

So to round off my "completed" Blücher armies we have last, but certainly not least, the French. You can't really have Napoleonics without Napoleon's army!

This is the largest army I've made so far and unlike the others it's definitely going to get larger. I've got quite a few packs of troops left unpainted!

As with the others these are all Heroics and Ros in 6mm on 60mm x 30mm bases. They're organised for the 1812 Invasion and Retreat from Russia, but will also be used for the 1813 campaign, with additions as appropriate.

On the front row from left to right, we have Davout's I Corps, Oudinot's II Corps, Ney's III Corps, Eugene's Italian IV Corps and Poniatowski's Polish V Corps. At the back there's the Imperial Guard and the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Corps.

So with those completed I've already started with my 1813 Prussians. For the first time I'm actually keeping track of how I'm painting them with photos. This should mean that the next few posts will be a short series concerning getting them from ziplock bag to table ready.

Monday 30 December 2019

Russian 1812 Army for Blücher Complete (for now)

So next up on my run through of my "completed" Blücher armies is my 1812 Russians. To add more will mean I'll have to buy more models. For once I've actually run out!

The 1812 invasion of Russian was the reason for moving to do 6mm Napoleonics. I'd just finished reading (ok, listening to) War and Peace after also massively enjoying the BBC production of the same and I was very, very interested in the 1812 campaign. Everything else in my Napoleonic interest had just been leading up to this...

The British Army in my previous post I had painted a few of years and years ago, but many of these Russians had been sat unpainted in their packets since then. I think I'd even attempted to sell them a few times. I'm glad I hadn't managed to do so!

Again they're all from Heroics and Ros in 6mm and the original box of troops has been supplemented with quite a bit more. They're organised for the Vyazma battle with additional units added for other parts of the 1812 Russian Army. Each base represents a brigade and again measures 60cm x 30cm.

There are three basic Corps, II, III and IV with cavalry detachments for II and IV for Vyazma. Additionally there are Militia and Cossack Corps. Rounding it off are the two Cuirassier Divisions. All the commanders and sub-commanders for Blücher are also modelled.

There is of course room for more. Unlike the British Peninsular army in the last post the Russian Army of 1812 was huge with several different army groups etc. Moving on to 1813 next will mean I have to think hard about how to make best use of this force. Maybe some units will have to be re-assigned, maybe I'll have to paint more!

Next up with be the French.

Saturday 28 December 2019

British Penisular Army for Blücher Complete

So a little while ago I managed to complete my British Peninsular War Army for Blücher. This was the first army I started and the first one I'm sure I'm convinced I've completed. If anything further is added then it will be to make it usable for the 100 days and Waterloo.

There are many mistakes in the army. There should of course be two flags, not one, on each base and most of the troops have belgic shakos rather than stove pipe shakos, etc... but it will just have to do. It wasn't the main reason I got into this anyway, there will be more accuracy in my other armies, I promise!

The models are all 6mm from Heroics and Ros on 60mm x 30mm bases with each base representing a brigade.

The brigades are organised into the various divisions under Wellington's control during the war, including Portuguese and Spanish allies. I think I have pretty much the entire British Army in the Peninsular here.

There are only 3 division commanders with special rules for the army in the Blücher rules and these are attached to their divisions in the photos.

The front rank has divisions 1 through to 7 and then the Light Division on the end. Behind that are attached and massed artillery batteries, the cavalry division, 2 divisions of Spanish allied infantry and a division of Spanish allied cavalry.

My Russian and French armies have also reached "conclusion" for now as I will be starting on Prussians soon. I will post photos of those "completed" armies in a few days.

Monday 23 December 2019

Blücher two day battles

I just realised that I've not been posting! How bad of me! ;)

Anyway... I have been busy wargaming and painting. I just got out of the habit of posting about it. It happens every so often and I apologise. I will try and make up for being remiss!

Anyway, the main wargaming I've been doing has of course been Blücher. The Mini-Borodino was the last big battle we got played but in addition to that have been a Vyazma demo at Recon 2019, which I forgot to take photos of, a big Penisular war game, and a couple of small 2-day battles.

The idea for 2-day battles came when we found we really struggled to reach a conclusion to a Scharnhorst battle in a single 3-hour club night. Not reaching a conclusion in a day was something that happened from time-to-time during the Napoleonic wars and when that happened they would sometimes rest and deploy during the night and fight again in the morning. Perhaps we could do the same, with the second day being played on a subsequent night?

With a bit of thought I came up with some rules to handle this and have added those rules to the Blücher house-rules section of this blog, see menu on right.

We've had a couple of trial games with this system. In one the second day produced a good definite result, though closer that we expected. But in the other one the Russians managed to get themselves in a very good defensive position which meant that the attacking French couldn't break through, but had mauled the Russians badly.

Here are some photos from those two battles.

 The Russians at the top right were to take the brunt of the attack from the French forces, but the Russians at the bottom right pushed against their rear-guard and did major damage. The Russians down by the town did very little as they waited for French Reinforcements which would arrive at the town they defended. The re-inforcements did not arrive.

Starting position for the first battle.
French unit cards at the end of the first day with damage marked. The photo allowed us to reset the battle.

Russian unit cards at the end of the first day with damage marked.

I didn't take enough photos of this battle... so on to the second one!

A similar thing happened to the Russians in this second battle. Again they found they had a force in the top right of this photo which was pushed and pushed by the French. Meanwhile on the bottom right the French were attacking a very heavily defended village.

At the end of the day the unit cards were put back next to their units and the number of damage markers written on them.

Again I took photos of the unit cards when I got home...

The second day was mainly about a big French assault on the Russian held village and a big cavalry race around the battlefield...

The first of these two games we didn't know that we were going to go for a second day and committed troops with the intention of winning either way. With the second game we were playing to a higher points value (300 as opposed to 200) and had determined from the start that we would be playing a second day. This lead to a much more cagey game, with a lot more retreating under assault going on. Quite different and interesting approaches to the battles!

Overall this seemed to work. No doubt there are improvements that could be made, but I think we'll be using these new house rules again in future!

Oh... and I nearly forgot, here's a photo from the big Peninsular war game we had...

Sunday 17 November 2019

Mini-Borodino in Blücher

Today we were at Dales Wargames. As I've been doing for the last few of the Dales games days I brought along my Blücher game to play. We get all day to play so it's chance to try something quite a bit bigger than we get at COGS. With that in mind and with my Russian and French forces pretty well fleshed out I thought a big game involving everything I have for both of those would be fun.

When scenario came to mind I figured that since they're for the 1812 campaign primarily perhaps something based around Borodino. A mini-Borodino perhaps. It turns out though after working out what I have it wasn't that far off what would have been needed for a full scale Borodino.

Towards the end of the battle showing the mass of troops in play.

The terrain was based on the numerous maps of the battlefield that are online. The Great Redoubt or Rajevsky Battery was to be in the centre of the battlefield with the river in front and beyond that the little town of Borodino itself. Two roads ran towards Moscow behind the Russian lines and the Russians would have to ensure that the French did not gain control of either of these.

Deployment was done with each side being controlled by two players using the Blücher  multi-player rules and splitting the forces into two flanks. Each player effectively having 3 MO dice for command.

Initial Deployment is all concealed.
On the French left flank Eugene had an open field to advance across for his Italians. Ney just to the left of the river would have to advance up the road. Davout and Poniatowski on the right flank had a couple of wooded areas to make their way through. The Imperial Guard and reserve cavalry hoped they would not be needed and sat just to the right of the river.

As soon as the French troops advanced into range the masses of Russian artillery revealed themselves and started bombardments...

The French took heavy casualties from the initial barrage, but they responded with counter-battery fire forcing many of the Russian batteries to leave the field of battle. This was a key moment and would make the invader's job a lot easier in future turns.

Davout advances through the woods with Poniatowski on his right flank.
Ney advances through the town of Borodino.
Eugene Advances across the open ground and is countered by Cossacks and Hussars.
The battle progressed as Davout's advance was slowed by the wood. Eugene had to deal with several counter-attacks and a sneaky attack by Cossacks aroung the flank onto his artillery.

Eventually Davout broke through the wood and was able to attack the Great Redout. An initial attack was repelled, but the second was successful and the fortifications were taken. But then history repeated itself and the French were pushed by out by Russian Grenadiers.

Grenadiers attack the French in the redout

Ney is slowed by the river crossing and Eugene keeps being countered by ever-larger Russian forces.

Davout advances out of the wood to find he faces Militia and artillery

The French assualt continued, most success was on the French right flank, on the old road, where there was mostly just Militia present. But then once through the weak outer layer it became apparent they were hiding a huge number of Russian Grenadiers. Davout started to struggle and the Corsican Ogre decided it was time to release his Guard. These would provide the extra punch needed to push the Russians off the old road...

The Imperial Guard arrive to assist Davout and Poniatowski.

The Guard did indeed push the Russians back and many brigades of Russian line infantry were seen fleeing from their charges. One of the two Russian cuirassier divisions were re-assigned back to defending the road, but would it be too late...

We'll never know... we ran out of time! We got turn 19 finished and could have played on for another 11 turns to determine victory. It was looking very good for the French though, they had inflicted almost 3 times as many casualties as they'd taken and had nearly cleared the right-most road.

A fantastic game and so good to see all my troops in play. Just a single brigade of Young Guard didn't make it onto the table, having been left behind when the rest of the Guard Corps moved up to assist Davout. Wonderful to have such great players in Dave, who also organises Dales, Andy, who is always an enthusiastic player to have around and of course my son, Brendan, who I am very glad loves playing the same games his dad does.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Blücher: Peninsular battle on my second folding board

Now my Russian army is completed I've been working on updating my British army to use the casualty and artillery ammo markers rather than cards with dry erase pens.

Tonight was the first time out for it and we played a 200 point game with our Quick Scharnhorst house rules.

The setup ended up with both British and French ending up with VP objectives, though I realise now that this situation shouldn't really have happened with the version of rules I'd come up with. Anyway, I've adjusted them a bit.

The game was fun though, with a limited amount of time in the day we got it finished within the time allowed and thought after we'd already starting packing up that this would have been a great time to try a 2 day game. i.e. keep the terrain layout and army condition for another night's gaming. We'll have to work out details on how to do that next time.

Anyway, here are a few photos...

The board we used was my second folding board. The design is basically the same as the pasting-table conversion I made for Vyazma, but this one is designed specifically with Scharnhorst in mind. I had MDF cut so that the board is exactly the right size for Scharnhorst and put lines marking the table sections on the edges. The board is flat so that terrain can be placed as needed in the game.

The hinges and handle are from an existing damaged pasting table I've had for a very long time.

A board is strapped over the gap when it's folded for transport.