Friday, November 27, 2015

I'm Back, Baby!

We're all moved in to our new digs, internet connected and ready to go! Now, where did I put all those soldiers....?

Monday, October 5, 2015

I Should Have Listened to the Lemur, or.....I'm the The King of Wishful Thinking!

I went to last Saturday's club meeting with Vince in tow to show him how it's done. After this lesson, I'm not sure if he'll thank me!

I'd accepted a challenge from Ian KH to meet his 1/72nd French on the field of battle with my Anglo-Portuguese forces. I'd gone for an infantry-heavy force with only one full strength light cavalry regiment and a smaller heavy cavalry reserve. It turned out Ian had gone with not only two full strength cavalry regiments, but also two small light cavalry units, which turned out to be a real fly in the ointment. Still, if I played my cards right, I could defend against his cavalry and fight an infantry battle to secure a draw, if not a victory. That was my plan, anyway.

Ian won the initiative roll and immediately took the ridge. Most unsporting of him; ridges are British property, I say! My skirmish line was countered by his small cavalry units, forcing them to the right of the building on the ridge summit, where they skirmished with their French counterparts. My skirmishers defeated their opposition and then peppered the nearest formations, adding disorders to their ranks.

I thought I'd be clever and counter Ian's iddy-biddy cavalry with my heavy dragoons in the centre. This had the desired effect and certainly slowed the centre of his line, which formed squares to counter the threat, but at a cost of keeping my only cavalry reserve committed early in the game. His light infantry brigade on my right flank steadily advanced and his main cavalry force on my left kept my lone full strength cavalry regiment mesmerised like a cobra confronted by a pair of mongooses (...mongeese?).

After I'd scared his central Dutch brigade into square I didn't have an artillery battery or infantry regiment close enough to exploit the opportunity. I then made a rash decision to break my defensive line and sent the 50th Foot forward to engage the squares. Unfortunately I didn't get the sequencing of this advance quite right and left the infantry exposed after I'd moved my cavalry first, thus preventing them from taking the opportunity charge in support of the infantry when Ian's cavalry inevitably took their own opportunity charge. Hence the lemur's wisdom at the top of the report! Still, that was no biggie, as the infantry were only forced to retreat and would later return to the fray.

What was a biggie, and what I hadn't even considered, was that Ian would split his cavalry force on my left and send his dragoons angling into the flank of my infantry line, rather than keep them all concentrated on my own cavalry. Why I didn't see this is beyond me; really it was the obvious thing to do and left me high and dry: if I formed square I'd be at the mercy of his artillery and infantry which had held their attention, and if I moved backwards into cover I'd chance causing an opportunity charge. In the end I chose another (and probably the worst) option; do nothing. 

Why I did that was because I intended to fire into the dragoons' flanks with the horse battery. In another flubbing of sequencing, I moved the cavalry before I turned the artillery in preparation to fire. Of course, Ian took the opportunity charge, and as I'd already moved my cavalry I couldn't counter-charge in support! D'OH!! Listen to the lemur (I think I'll have to put it on a t-shirt)! The lancers charged, wiped out my horse battery, and careered into my stationary light dragoons, ending in a draw (which I didn't deserve for such a bone-headed move). Having staked everything on the artillery flanking fire forcing the dragoons to retire, my infantry were now in deep doo-doo!

My heavy dragoons spanked Ian's chasseurs in an opportunity charge, but after that last hurrah it was all downhill. The dragoons charged my line of highlanders who tried to form square and failed due to the narrow distance in between them. They would have been better off standing and firing because they would have emptied at least one saddle which would have affected the pre-melee check. Anyhow, I am the King of Wishful Thinking (see below*). The highlanders were caught milling about after failing to form square and were sent packing. The French dragoons went slicing into my line dealing death to everything in their path. Ian's infantry then came down off the ridge to put the finishing touches to my discombobulation and, for good measure, launched an assault on my right.

Game over!

The Anglo-Portuguese under starters' orders

The Franco-Allies make the first move

French, Dutch and Swiss

The Swiss brigade...

....and the Dutch

The French cavalry make their move, with the lancers leading

I formed a defensive line with the Portuguese in reserve.

Light dragoons and horse guns protect the left flank

"Hold fast, boys!"

The thin red line supported by the donkey wallopers of the 4th Dragoons

The Dutch come on in echelon to support the French light infantry on my right.

Skirmish line advances

Cavalry standoff on my left flank. The guns couldn't hit a thing that day.

Ian throws out his own skirmish line.

My dragoons advance, throwing out a vedette, which causes a halt to Ian's advance in the centre.

The 50th Foot advance across the farmland to threaten the squared up Dutchmen.

Ian's chasseurs advance to threaten the dragoons' flank and my advancing infantry.

After putting the dragoons in echelon, I then stupidly advanced the infantry into Ian's opportunity charge range, not allowing my dragoons to support their advance.

The 50th retreat beyond the line, while the Portuguese cover them.

The 1st Provisional Regiment advance out into the farmland to take the 50th's place.

The 6th Dragoons awaiting developments

Back on the left, the 92nd suddenly realise how much danger they're in. If they go into square now....

....they've still got all that infantry ahead of them, not to mention the battery of guns to their front.

In the second Listen to the Lemur moment, I caused the charge on my guns after moving my cavalry.

Guns wiped out, cavalry charged while standing still....

...ends in a retire, which I had no right to expect!

In their last hurrah, my dragoons take an opportunity charge as Ian's chasseurs try to be cheeky.

Unfortunately, they went battlemad and came a cropper against the Dutch square on top of the ridge.

Now the wheels fall off! The highlanders are caught after failing to form square. Note to self; Shoot the buggers, next time!

Being the tough nuts they are, they retreat, rather than break, though they've taken casualties and  copped disorders.

The dragoons then crash into the artillery...

...and then into the Portuguese column!

A nice big gap for Ian to exploit!

His survivng small detachment of hussars then punish my blown dragoons with a flank charge.

The highlanders recover, but it's too late!

The Dutch give the coup-de-grace to the dragoons

The Swiss advance off the ridge...
...and crash into my disordered line, shrugging off the flank fire to put an end to resistance in the centre.

On the right flank, the French light infantry charge, punching through the Buffs, despite some heavy fire.

*Aaah, the early '90's; back in the day when mullets and bike shorts were cool!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Viva el re Gioacchino...Or, If Wishes Were Horses.

Viva Italia! 
Combined Italian/Neapolitan brigade
My Neapolitans got their baptism of fire last Friday in a game against John R. and his Austrians. What usually happens in this situation is the new units attract the enemy like bees to honey, but this didn't happen so much this time, which was a victory in itself!

We decided the control of the central village was the object of the game, and as John won the initiative, he occupied the village first. It was my job to evict him and take control myself. How would I go with my sub-standard Neapolitan infantry? Especially as John had gone for quality over quantity with cuirassiers, grenadiers and heavy artillery.

My strategy was to use the Neapolitan/Italian brigade as a reserve and do the attacking with my better-rated French brigade. Things didn't go to plan, though (do they ever?), as my first move involved sending a French infantry battalion close to the village in a line which I thought was outside the enemy cavalry's charge arc. I was wrong. The cuirassiers took the opportunity charge and my infantry failed to form square, so they were run down by the oncoming wall of horseflesh and broke to the rear, effectively eliminating them from the game! Good first move...Not!

From then on, my Neapolitans had to take a more aggressive approach, but with the Austrian cavalry and grenadiers to contend with I had to be careful they weren't engaged by superior forces too soon. My Italian chasseurs similarly weren't strong enough to take on their counterparts and spent the game in a blocking or threatening role, getting onto the flanks of John's approaches. The only time I sent the chasseurs into battle, they had a perfectly lined up flank charge on a retreating battalion of grenadiers. My cavalry took the opportunity charge, but muffed the pre-melee, refusing to charge home and ending up 2" from the enemy with disorders, while the grenadiers marched off scott-free! Curse you, crappy cavalry!

The French infantry attempted a charge on the village, but without the 4th battalion and without an attached general the attack failed. After that attack and the defensive fire from the village and nearby artillery, the French infantry was sadly depleted, meaning that any further attack on the village would have to be done by the Italian/Neapolitan infantry. I managed to get my best Neapolitan unit, the Guard Velites, blocked by the woods, so they couldn't participate in the ensuing charge. D'oh! Again, I neglected to attach my general which proved fatal, as my die roll meant that if he'd been attached, the charge would have gone in. As it was, the charge failed and the infantry stopped 2" away from the village with disorders. In the ensuing counter attack, the Austrians carved into the disordered Neapolitans, signalling the end of the game. Even if the charge had gone in, there still still a good chance that the combat would have gone badly, as I didn't quite have the magic 3:1 odds. Still, the chance would have been better than halting at 2" with disorders! If the Velites had joined in, the general was attached and the die roll better, the game would have had a different ending. But...
If wishes were horses, beggars would ride:
If turnips were watches, I'd wear one by my side,:
If, Ifs and Ands were pots and pans,
There'd be no work for tinkers' hands.

My Neapolitans on the starting blocks

The French brigade.

The Enemy!

Gentlemen, the target for tonight...

My Italian light cavalry...

...vs. John's heavies.
A fair fight? ;-)

John wins the initiative and surges ahead, not quite able to occupy the village on his first turn

The Austrian infantry protect the flank of the village, while the Austrian cavalry threaten everything to the front.

The Neapolitan Velites warily eye the cavalry.

One foolhardy French battalion try to seize the village first, but I misjudged the cavalry's charge arc!

The rest of the brigade form square, effectively stopping their attack before it began!

Over to you, Neapolitans! They advance to threaten the flank of the successful cavalry as well as the village. One regiment of Italian chasseurs threatens the flank of any possible Austrian attack.

Way out on my left flank, the other chasseur regiment threatens John's Jaegers, while minimising their profile behind the nearest buildings.

The French squares advance accompanied by the Italian horse guns and the 2nd French brigade

The Neapolitans' two left hand battalions cop disorders from the Jaegers' skirmish fire from the woods.

The Neapolitan light troops get charged by John's Hungarian grenadiers.

I was expecting a loss, but when you get a result like this, it's virtually guaranteed!

John's line infantry occupy the village, covered by the victorious Hungarians.

His second unit of grenadiers then charge my Velites.

I was expecting more resistance in this combat...until I rolled the die, that is!

His victory left the grenadiers in the open. His breakthrough wasn't that great...

....leaving him at the mercy of a flank shot from my Italian horse battery.
Of course, they missed and John easily survived the resulting morale test.

John's cavalry moved away from the middle, helped along by a flank shot from my infantry. The cavalry retreated a little further out of harm's way. Perfect! thinks John.

On the far left flank the other Italian chasseur regiment plays hide and seek with the Austrians, attempting to threaten their flank.

Back in the centre, John's grenadiers are stranded with my cavalry on their flank. You know what comes next, don't you?

That's right! CHAAAARGE!!!

The Italian cavalry decide that it's probably best not to; they might dirty their uniforms. What's that? I think I might have left the gas on back home. I'd better go and check....
GRRRRR! Bloody useless cavalry!

John manages to extract his grenadiers without losses while I have to think up a plan B.

I'll try an assault on the village with my best troops, minus the battalion smashed in my first move. The left hand battalion has copped some curry from the heavy Austrian guns.

Out on my right flank, the other French brigade forms l'ordre mixte to attempt to shield the attack on the village.

Bloody useless cavalry swan about, trying to not look embarrassed.

The French veterans go in to the sound of the pas de charge

Their attack ends in failure, being forced to retreat beyond their starting point!

It's up to you, figli d'Italia

Back on the right flank, one French battalion in closed column tries to advance into the flank of the Austrian guns, provoking a cavalry charge!

Fire from the closed column, as well as flanking fire from the occupied village forces the Austrians to retreat with losses. Huzzah!

The bloody useless cavalry try to redeem themselves covering the battered French infantry while they pull themselves together after their abortive attack.

That provokes the Austrian infantry to form square.

The closed column manages to reach the flank of the artillery battery after copping a pasting on the approach. It spent all its functions getting that far, so couldn't fire into the flank that turn. Not the other limbered battery to the rear. Gulp!

A volley from the freshly unlimbered rear battery soon sends my impertinent infantry back to where they came from. 

The situation as it stands: the French infantry shelter behind the Italian cavalry, who are making up for past sins by absorbing Austrian artillery fire. The Italian horse battery is firing at the village (and missing) in preparation for an attack.

The French are too battered to be up for the challenge

Over to you, I miei amici!

After the guns actually succeeded in taking an Austrian casualty, the combined Italian/Neapolitan force attacked...

...but without the attached general, they chickened out, halting at 2" with 2 disorders.

Fresh meat for the Austrian grenadiers!

RUN AWAY!!!!!!

PS. Evan and Millsy are running a draw to celebrate their blog's seven year "Amnesiaversary"! If you're into Frostgrave and Warhammer, go and join in the fun. If not, wish them many happy returns anyway!
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