It's been a good while since the blog seen a battle report so I'm glad to say that last Sunday my own gaming drought came to an end!
Young David and I headed over to Grangemouth after being given the heads up that a couple of Napoleonic battles would be on the go. Gary (Rudorff from GdB) and some of the other members from the Falkirk club were getting geared up for a Waterloo game planned for this summer by running through a couple of sections of the battle. YD and I popped along to watch and somehow ended up with a brigade of Prussians each!
I took the iPad on its 1st wargames outing and snapped a few pics of the action on both tables(pics of the other battle will follow soon). So we were on the Plancenoit table, Plunket (Robert) supplied the majority of the Prussians and a small number of my troops got a run out too (which was nice). So Gary handed a very rusty me and a "now mostly playing Black Powder at the Carluke club" young David the 1st 2 Prussian brigades on the table!
I was a bit hesitant at 1st and Billy (can't remember Billy's handle over on GdB, something French I would guess?) being an experienced naps player threw us a curve ball sending forward his tiny chasseur a cheval regiment on engage orders. Now if you know the GdB scenario, the battle etc you will no doubt know the whole point of the action is for the Prussians to get right in there, hammer away at the French and smash their way into the French controlled buildings and force the French to commit the guard. Well I'm sorry to say we didn't! (I'll just add that my brigade was instructed to support David's immobile reserve brigade so couldn't advance beyond their position thus clearing myself of any future court martial from marshal forwards!).
It was a very nice atmosphere at the club, good chat, meeting new folks etc so a very nice day. However that said David and I should have thrown caution to the wind and got stuck in, anyway Gary (Blucher on the day) was very understanding of our rustiness (I should point out that I was a lot rustier than David as he still games most weekends).
Anyway after a standoff with the only French cavalry unit on the table on our right flank we headed onwards. After the game Billy showed me the related strength of columns against a single small cavalry unit unsupported, as long as your lucky with dice you stand a good chance with column. It wouldn't have mattered to much if 1 or both our brigades had been duffed over in a melee with cavalry as there was a huge Prussian force still to enter the battle and any casualties caused on the cavalry would have ended their part in the battle.
Our Prussian reinforcements finally streamed onto the table, blucher gave them an order on arrival and they were placed onto tactical march and sent on their way. This was the 1st time I had used the tactical march so it was a good bit of learning for myself. I guess because we usually play on smaller tables and have less time that we have never really used it, even with the tactical march it still took a good deal of time to get our reinforcements up into the battle.
A pic of some of the French defenders controlled by Rod and Billy on the day. I've no idea who supplied the French?
So as the troops finally got close to Plancenoit they started to sort themselves out.
It was a busy old place outside old Plancenoit (just like outside the post office on pension day!). It was tricky to deploy troops, artillery to engage in a fire fight on such a short frontage and having all the brigades arrive there at once didn't help.
The French did what they had to do in the time we had and I'm sure with another few hours we would have crushed them but on the day the French won because they held the buildings with no trouble and no guard was committed. We never even managed to get all of our reserve troops on the table!
I eventually tried a pointless charge with a very weakened landwehr battalion and as expected got bounced. I just couldn't walk away without putting 1 charge in!
So at the end of the game our troops stood poised to assault Plancenoit. On our left our cavalry had moved to a threatening position at the rear of the buildings and on the right Gary had the bulk of the quality attacking force near the church complex and all the troops (2 battalions) within the church were low on ammo with double 1's being rolled for both by Billy. The lightly defended French right was not under much threat from myself or David's brigade due to my last ditch assault and exchanges of fire.
It dawned on me half way through the game that I had played the scenario before with JP a few years earlier over in his garage and I was the Prussians on the day, we were playing GdB pretty regularly and I remember getting the troops into engage orders and getting up pretty fast then slowly wearing down his troops in the buildings with alternate fire from artillery, line and jäger before assaulting with fresh reserve troops on assault orders. I remember on the day the 1st buildings that were cleared were the lighter defended left (French right) and eventually the church was assaulted from 2 sides. We played the game on a broader front allowing more room to deploy also the table although large was not as deep so the time factor was not such an issue however this also cuts down on the time the French have to get shots in on the advancing Prussians although I don't think to much damage was inflicted on our advancing troops in the battle above so this may not be a great factor?
So in the end it was a lovely days gaming, having a blether with guys who know a lot more about the Napoleonic period than myself so it was cool just to sit back and listen. I was a little embarrassed with our impact on the game but Gary and the guys didn't seem to mind and I get the feeling that the main aim was to find out what was required for the scenarios. It was also simply great to play a GdB game again, and as the guys know the rules inside out there were no grey areas so pretty much everything went smooth.
I have been able to keep my painting mojo going this last couple of months however I did get an extra boost seeing my buddy Roberts Prussians out on the table. I have now cleaned up 2 landwehr battalions to complete my 6th silesians and have pretty much painted half a battalion. I hope to get the 4 battalion brigade finished by the end of March (famous last words again!) we will see!!! I also finished painting my Von Lutzow fusilier battalion and I'm in the process of basing them up.
A big thank you to Gary, Billy, Rod and my nephew David for an enjoyable days gaming and it was nice to get some of my toys on a table again! Also I met a very nice chap called Allister (hope that's the right spelling?) who had visited my blog on occasion so that was cool and he is running the large Waterloo game this summer. Now that would be something special to see!