Saturday, August 22, 2015


With our buddy Bruce making one of his infrequent jaunts through town, of COURSE we had to get a game on and he wanted to try out BLACK POWDER Napoleonics.  We go for a modified version of one of the scenarios in the great book Charles Grant did a few years ago.

Here the Prussians, a regiment that's obviously part of a rear guard somewhere south of Wavre, are trying to hold a road that passes through a gap in a wooded ridge against an advance guard division of Grouchy's French forces moving north from Ligny.  Stacy has 2 Ligne and 2 Legere battalions, Bruce has 4 Ligne battalions and his Division Commander has 2 6pd field guns.

In the battlefield debut of my new Prussian regiment (ohhhhnoooo we all know what happens to unblooded troops!), I hold the pass with 2 Musketeer battalions and 2 6pd field pieces with a Fusilier battalion on my left and a Volunteer Jaeger Company on my right. 
"They shall not pass!"

Here comes Bruce's brigade (yea, we know they're skirmish order coming through the woods but he was going to form right back in assault column on the other side) and first blood to the Jaegers as the riflemen put a couple of casualties on one of the enemy units!

French artillery takes some hits getting set up and they chose to stay at medium range firing at targets to contribute to their side's part of the fight.

Stacy's brigade goes into line to keep the Prussian left engaged and Bruce's brigade gets stuck in where Prussian fire hasn't disordered or shaken units.
"Hold steady, meine Jungen!"

"I said Hold Steady!"  Unfortunate roll of a Boxcars for a Blunder roll on a Musketeer battalion, at least I rolled a 6 to blunder into battle.  GITSUM!

Two rounds of battle later, even after one of Stacy's Legere battalions had gotten stuck in, I roll morale saves on 7 hits in melee and then another boxcars for the morale check after combat resolution as he had flank and rear support and I didn't.  GITSUM!!  The line holds!

For a while, at least.  Finally my right side Musketeer battalion breaks, my left side Musketeers are forced back, and Stacy's Legere unit breaks through to charge my guys in their flank.  The resuling battle is inconclusive as we back and forth a couple of turns in the open ground behind the ridge.

My cannon and Jaegers continue to hold, sending two of Bruce's French Ligne battalions to the deadpool!

My Fusiliers on the other flank are lit up by Stacy's Ligne and flee the battle in ignominy.

We call it a French victory at this point as a hole has been blown open in the Prussian middle, their left flank is gone other than a cannon, and a Legere holds the road to allow the rest of the French forces to move off board to the north in pursuit of the rest of the Prussian Army.

Good fight, guys! 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Battle of Salamanca
Several gentlemen friends of mine and I spent Saturday at Grand Adventure Comics in Murfreesboro TN (a very nice hobby shop for gamers and highly recommended for a visit!) to re-create part of the Spanish Peninsular campaign of the Napoleonic Wars using 28mm Miniatures and our favorite rules for the period, BLACK POWDER, by Warlord Games
The Battle of Salamanca saw an Anglo-Portuguese army under the Duke of Wellington defeat Marshal Auguste Marmont's French forces among the hills around Arapiles, south of Salamanca, Spain on 22 July 1812 during the Peninsular War.  The French, who only saw a part of the Allied army due to the reverse slope positions favored by Wellington, thought the enemy was retreating and extended their forces out to their left flank in an attempt to encircle and destroy the remaining rear guard.  Wellington, seeing this maneuver through his telescope while having lunch, is reported to have said "By God that will do!" and launched his forces into full attack to destroy the French who were strung out on the move and not prepared to receive him.
I had found this scenario map, with orders of battle and victory conditions for the decisive sector of the battle, on the internet somewhere and my friend Rick Ashby hosted the game.

As I portrayed the French brigade commander Bonnet with my forces positioned on the major objective hill the Greater Arapiles, I knew I'd be in for a hot time!  Here's how the battle unfolded from my perspective.
My Brigade is a fairly typical Peninsular War French force of 3 battalions of Ligne, one battalion of Legere, and a 6pd Field Piece.  French Commander Marmont begins the battle at my position to order me and my buddy Tom Burgess, playing the role of Sarrut to my right, to attack and take the Lesser Arapiles hill objective away from the British.  He then rides off to the French left flank to lead the effort there. 

Tom and I begin the battle in Assault Columns with our Voltiguer skirmishers screening the units and our artillery set to fire.  As we both immediately blow our first command roll, our brigades hold their position and firing our cannon at the British Guardsmen on top of the Lesser Arapiles is all we get to do.  "Merde!"
"By God that will do!"  The Allied forces have no such problems with their command rolls and here they come!  It's starting off looking as if history will repeat itself.

But no, Wellington, that will NOT do, and on the second turn my brave French infantrymen move out in line to meet the enemy in the fields between the hilltop objectives.  The Legere battalion, sharpshooters all, goes into skirmish formation and occupies the edge of the woods to my right.

TIREZ!  The entire French army opens fire upon the enemy all down the line, concentrating fire on units we've identified as Guardsmen.  Putting early casualties on these shock troops will pay off for us later in the battle.

Making it through our closing fire, the enemy comes on into the initial contact.  Fight's on! 

First decisive advantage to the enemy!  One of my three Ligne battalion flees the field in ignominy and the other retreats behind my reserve battalion.  "I never mind men running away as long as they come back."  The enemy has blown open the approach to the objective hill that I occupy, the Greater Arapile, and moves up to threaten my artillery.

To steal another of Welly's quotes, "Put every gun to them sir."  We grimly hold on to the shoulders of the penetration and begin to concentrate skirmish and line battalion fire and close range artillery canister to pound the enemy units threatening our position.

When I say grimly, I say GRIMLY!  A fresh British line battalion charges my advanced Ligne battalion already disordered from the initial assault and, miraculously, my boys not only hold their position but force the enemy battalion back behind his line in disorder.  La' Gloire to the Infantry of the Ligne!  :)

Colonel Gordon is NOT amused.  "Bad beans, Wellington!"

The enemy, who begin to feel their right flank threatened by the French cavalry and infantry assault on that flank, desperately feed more troops into our kill zone to try to finish us off and be able to turn to face the threat to their right.  The early wounds we gave to these enemy units begin to pay off as, sometimes with 5 or 6 excess wounds on them past their stamina point, they begin to fail their morale tests and flee the field under our concentrated fire.

Rick even sends the Cavalry Brigade's horse artillery over our way to add their 6pdr's fire to the slaughter!
The enemy army, with all of its cavalry and most of its infantry units destroyed, has no choice but to capitulate and are marched to the French prisoner of war camps at Verdun.

Our gallant foes Ken, Shawn, and Duane.
The heroes of the French army at Salamanca!  Tom, Dan, Rick and me. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Had a BLAST in Indianapolis this last weekend.  Made it up to hit the dealer's area Thursday afternoon and then played in the Able Company hosted FLAMES OF WAR Early War tournament on Friday and the Late War tournament on Saturday. 
Otherwise, I just enjoyed the spectacle of GenCon, seeing and visiting with friends old and new, and hanging out in the very nice downtown Indianapolis entertainment district.  Here's some pics of my adventures. 

Corned Beef, Cabbage and Beer at Claddagh's Irish Pub.  Do this first.  

GenCon Dealer's Area.. it's like a 3 block long concert mosh pit full of every version of gaming products and hobby nerds known to man.. including me!  
My con present to myself.. Miniature Building Authority's awesome Chateau complex and an extra pack of walls for use in BLACK POWDER 28mm Napoleonics gaming. 
Like pretty much all MBA products the roofs come off so you can place figs inside and multiple story buildings have multiple floors like the second floor of the Chateau and the barn hayloft. 
I love the detail on the gates.. innie locking bars and outtie pull rings! 
It can be all put together for one big 'ol honking complex..  
or broken into 2 or 3 smaller complexes which is how I'll usually set it up for Nappys. 
On to the gaming!  Even before our tourney started on Friday this almost stole me away.  I thought it was a Dark Ages Viking kinda' thingy but it's a VERY well modeled up version of a Westeros Game of Thrones kinda' deal.  Looked awesome and when I watched people play for a bit they were having a good time. 

By the wolf's head on that shield I'd say we're looking at the House Stark contingent.
Okay.. to the Early War tournament!  My roomie and gaming bud for the weekend was Will from our GITSUM group (Gamers Into Tactical Simulations Using Miniatures).. we got shirts and nicknames and army patches and everything!
My Early War French Reconnaissance Squadron 
Love these guys!  Cool camo and fun to play.  Let's rock. 
One of my games with the French tangling with a German Afrika Korps Panzer Kompanie.  The Panhard armored cars and Renault tanks are flanking some Panzer Mk II's and Kfz 222 armored cars while Somua medium tanks close in from the front. 
I won all 3 of my Early War games but lost some of my platoons doing it.  I was very pleased with a 2nd place finish and my trophy and Battlefront Swag!
On to the next day's Late War tournament.. I bring my winter themed Soviet Tankovy army. 

Love these guys and have always had a LOT of fun playing them.
A Soviet tanker dismounts to demonstrate his opinion of the German armor his unit faces.  Is that some steam coming up off of.. nevermind. 
I get matched up to play my buddy Will during one of the games!  Here's my Sturmovik starting the game off killing a couple of his German and Hungarian armored fighting vehicles. 
Here's my T-34 horde coming to kill the rest of his armored vehicles.  I lose a couple of platoons but I make up for Will defeating me at Wolfkrieg by putting a big fat L in his Round 2 results column.  
That's about all I accomplished other than having 3 fun games as I went 1 win and 2 losses and finished up somewhere down in the pack.  Just wait'll next year!
My old friend and gaming industry guru Mike Webb had seen our club was getting into Napoleonics and he hooked our group up with a VERY nice Atlas of the Peninsula campaign! 
Other than history and orders of battle and standard graphics maps, it also has topography illustrations and will get a LOT of use helping us design scenarios.  Thanks Mike!
Made it home safe and sound to my family and am feeling blessed I had a lot of fun this weekend.  Looking forward already to next year!