Friday, September 27, 2013

The Home Straight - Another French Infantry Battalion: Same but Different?

My painting output has slowed, just as I begin to reach the final few battalions of infantry! I blame the change in seasons (though with spring we're getting more daylight; go figure...), work becoming busier and a last hurrah for winter lurgies (hack, coff...).

Anyway, this battalion has been a long time coming, and for once isn't based on my favoured HaT 8095 set. This time I've used the HaT 8146 set with head mods using the recently arrived spare heads by Franznap, which don't really suit the chunky 8095 figures, but work perfectly with the finer sculpting of the later HaT output. There are a couple of heads using the old and historically inaccurate Italeri 6002 set of which I've inherited a boxful and are handy for spare parts.

They've come out quite shiny under the flash, but they're not that glossy in real life, I assure you!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

RN Landing Scenario Redux

As September 19th is 'International Talk Like a Pirate Day' (Yaaarrrr!!!!), the whole month of September is given over to all things Piratical at our club, NWA. As well as an ongoing campaign using the Legends of the High Seas rules, we have also put on games using our regular rules, but sporting a definite nautical feel.

I hosted my Naval Landing scenario set in northern Spain which I had previously tested last year. This year I had Garry take on the Anglo-Spanish forces, Robin the French garrison, and Jenko the French relief force, while I umpired and generally looked on taking photos and getting in the way! (again, I neglected to check if the camera's SD card was in before I left home and was reduced to using my phone's camera when it was apparent it was still in the pc!)

Garry and Jenko took a different tack to how Tim and I played the scenario, with a different result. Garry advanced across the stream, and Jenko made a bee-line for the fort and the Spanish attackers. In the skirmishing which followed, the French prevailed over their Spanish opponents, forcing them back before the British naval guns could establish themselves.

In both games, the naval guns spent too long moving from the beach to be influential in the game. Next time I run the game I think I will change the terrain so that the Navy has more of a role to play. Next year after I get my hands on HMS Frolic, I'll redesign the scenario to give the RN a bigger role more in tune with the theme of the month.

How much does it cost a pirate to get his ears pierced?
A buck an ear! (Geddit? Buccaneer!)
Each pirate themed game was given an appropriate flag. This was the one for my table; the Spanish Cruz de Borgoña

The game's objective; The French redoubt covering the road and the bridge over the river

The RN landing party in the ships' boats

The armed townsfolk crossing the ford to meet the landing party with  a suitable conveyance for the guns

The Spanish regulars lining up south of the town

The French garrison. The guns face the road, while the rear is just covered by an infantry firestep.

The landing party approaches the shore

Garry in deep thought while Pete E. looks bored ;)

The garrison consisted of a battery of 8x8lb distributed across the 3 sides that faces the road and bridge, distributed as the player desired. There was also a garrison battalion of 6 conscript figures and 5 dismounted dragoons, 2 of which could operate in a mounted capacity if desired.

Garry sent in the Spanish light infantry in skirmish order to hack away at the abatis

His regulars advanced across the stream and into the walled farmland

Garry"s Spanish force moves up to the face undefended by artillery

One battalion of line troops forms in line to cover the landing. Note the sheep; they were to be used as an anti-cavalry impediment if needed!

The marines land. I'd forgotten to bring the single, un-based gun for the trip in the wagon. D'oh! 

Garry keeps the garrison occupied

His skirmishers clear the abitis. I'll have to remedy this area of the game in future. As it currently stands, it's out of range of small arms fire, so the Spanish can clear it with impunity.

A nice big gap in the abitis. The only problem is that this face is not directly exposed to the best vantage point for artillery to attempt making a breach

What would happen if Garry launched an assault at this stage? High obstacle, moat, defenders firing from behind cover; odds not great!

Spanish dragoons covering the ford opposite the landing beach.

At last! Jenko rolled the required number on the dice to get the relief force on the board.

The wagon and its escort make their slow way to their firing position.

The Royal Marines lead the way with Lt. Bertie Bugler, RN., at their head!

Jenko's dragoons advance towards the bridge, ensuring the Spanish don't try to interfere with his infantry deployment.

The relief force in column of march

Robin deploys his dismounted dragoons in skirmish order to take on the Spanish light troops.

Jenko's force deploys into combat column as it moves around the redoubt, behind the dragoons' skirmish screen.

En avant!

The French shake out into a line of columns...

...while Garry withdraws his main force behind the wall.
Jenko's general enters the redoubt to confer with the garrison's commander, requesting him to move some of his guns out of the redoubt to support his offensive action.

The waggon approaches the hill opposite the fort. Is there time for them to dismount, setup and start knocking holes in the redoubt? 

The ominous sight from Garry's POV

Bertie and the marines move up in support of the Spanish line

Alas, nothing stronger than coffee was on offer!

Jenko and Robin push back the Spanish light infantry

Garry pulls back the skirmish line, while the French commander looks on

At last! The naval guns are deployed!

Garry's line falls back so that any advance by the French will have to cross one wall and the rough terrain, but this leaves him with not only another wall, but a river at his back!

Robin's artillery were to target the marines and, in a display of unlikely accuracy, take a couple of figures, too.

The Spanish Skirmish line doggedly screens the Spanish main line, while Robin's guns deploy in the background.

The garrison's view of the hill opposite. Are they in for some 18lb action?

The Anglo-Spanish line awaits their fate!

Jenko detaches his light infantry to join the dismounted dragoons in whittling down the Spanish skirmish line.

The French main force lines up on the other side of the farmline, while Garry falls back further.

French line up to consider their next move

Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!

With the French relief force firmly in control of the situation and the likelihood of the gun positions to be overrun after the inevitable clash of infantry, it was decided that the game be ended there with a moral victory to the French. As they still held the fort and the likelihood that the Spanish would not be able to dislodge them without further reinforcements, it was to all intents and purposes a French win by default.

In my next running of this scenario, I think I'll have to give the Spanish some reinforcements to arrive at a random point in the game, and maybe boost the French morale rating from Regular to Veteran by way of compensation. There just weren't enough troops for the Spanish to prevent the French from out-bustling them in this instance. Also, it takes too long for the guns to be put in place for them to have any real influence on the outcome. Maybe tweaking the layout so that the guns don't have so far to travel will improve the scenario.

Anyway, I'll definitely run it again next year after some rejigging, so stay tuned in September 2014. Aaaaarrrrrr!

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