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!

Friday, September 11, 2015

1° Reggimento Fanteria Leggera - 1st Regiment of Light Infantry


Another battalion of my slowly growing Neapolitan project has been completed! This time it's the first of the light infantry regiments, namely the 1st battalion of the 1st regiment of light infantry. 

This regiment took a bit of planning to assemble, as there aren't that many figures in this scale which suit the requirements. First of all they had to be uniformed in the Bardin cut uniform; full plastron and short tailed coats. Secondly, only the elites should have epaulettes, but the chasseurs still needed crossbelts and sabre briquet/bayonet frogs. Only HaT produce a late uniformed light infantry set, but some of the sculpting, especially of the heads and shakos leave a bit to be desired. Still, I needed them for the elites, so I ordered a box. 

The chasseurs posed a problem still. I considered using the HaT figures and trying to shave the epaulettes off, but decided it would be too messy and the results not what I was after. I also have a truck-load of Esci French infantry, which, while very well produced, have a whole lot of inaccuracies as well as some rather odd poses. After examining them closely I decided that with a few adjustments they could fit the bill as chasseurs; 
  1. they have short-tailed coats, even though their fronts are in the pre-Bardin style,
  2. they all have double cross-belts, even though half of them don't have anything attached to the second belt,
  3. they don't have epaulettes, even those which seem to be elites i.e., the ones which do have the attached sabre briquet/bayonet frog.
What I was aiming for
Courtesy of via

The problems were remedied by converting the chosen figures. Painting conversions allowed me to suggest Bardin style uniforms on the front of these figures, while those without sabres were easily converted by gluing on sabres which had been carefully shaved off surplus figures. Strange poses were rectified by twisting the heads of some figures into more anatomically realistic positions, and a couple of figures without backpacks received surplus Schilling metal backpacks. A couple of the HaT figures received head conversions to replace the awful originals, or to provide a little variety in having the same posed figure used in the group.

Another problem presented by the Esci figures is the long, over-the-knee gaiters that they all wear. They'd gone out of use in the Revolutionary era, so on these figures it's completely anachronistic. I fixed that, though with a simple painting conversion, ending the gaiters below the knee. You can only really notice the original design if you look closely, but on the table you'll never notice it.

HaT NCO has head conversion, using a head from a surplus Esci figure.

Chasseur 2nd from left is another HaT figure with Esci head.

Firing figure has Schilling backpack

Middle figure also has Schilling backpack, and right hand HaT figure has a Franznap head.

HaT elites painted as voltiguers

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