Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter WIP

No, not corporal punishment of rabbits!

Here's what I've been up to so far; I've restarted the Borodino project, with some work on another battalion of the lovely Schilling French infantry in Bardin uniforms, as well as continued on with the Chevau-Leger Lanciers 5e Regiment.

So far I've only completed the voltiguer from the latest Schilling battalion. He has had his head replaced with one wearing a pokalem, just for a bit of variation. It didn't really seem to fit that well before it was painted up, but a couple of layers of paint seem to distract the eye from the imperfect join of head and collar.

The lancer is another one of FranzNap's lovely sculpts. This was another that came with the option of several different arms to choose from. I chose the arm carrying the lance by the sling around his elbow, leaving both the rider's arms free.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Russian Military Silliness and a Blog Pimping

The Russian military has always been adept at marching because of the sheer vastness of the country. Getting from A to B in most periods of Russian history meant that the average Russian army, whether Imperial or Soviet, needed to march long distances. Think of the long march on Paris 1812-1814, or the march on Berlin, 1942-1945. 

In crossing these vast distances the Russian armies have had their marching songs which helped them to maintain a steady march rate that ate up the miles as they crossed Europe in between savage battles. One of their favourite tunes was a song whose origin is lost in the mists of time. Some say it was derived from the ravings of a demented monk, others from the alcohol fuelled delirium of a particularly hated officer. Whatever its origins, it became the basis of a popular children's cartoon once a couple of American animators heard its nonsensical lyrics.

WTF? Is this final proof of the corrupting influence of US cultural imperialism? And why are there so many different units marching to the same silliness? Is it some sort of Russian military craze? Have they spent too long in the snowy cold of Siberia and collectively gone doolally?

Anyway, I shall be recommending my opponents in our upcoming Borodino game to send their troops forward with this song on their lips. We'll have to see if there's any footage of French troops marching to the Simpsons theme, or Italians marching to Kimba the While Lion....

On another tangent, Ian over at the Blog With No Name is having a competition with the prize a £20 sterling giveaway competition. He will pay 20 quid at the online store of your choice for whatever you want to buy. Of course, if you want to spend more than that, you can. He's not averse to some silliness himself and is asking for respondents to tell him a joke. I don't think it's a condition of entry and hopefully he's not basing the winner on the quality of the joke, otherwise I'm screwed!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Another Franco/Italic-Russian Battle

Last Friday's game was another in what I foresee as a long line of Franco-Russian battles as we gear up for Borodino early next year. This time I partnered Darren again, but this time against John W. and Pete E. I faced John W. who is, along with Tim and the two Andrews, one of the wiliest players around. 

I'll let you into a secret about John, if you promise not to spread it further: (stage whisper) he really likes to win! Now, those of you who know him will be really surprised by this, but I'll let you know  how I worked this out.
  1. As he sets up his troops he makes evil laughing noises of the "Mwa-hah-ha-haaa!" kind.
  2. He likes to argue the toss over the rules, so you have to be pretty clear on the issue if you think he's wrong, otherwise you're on a hiding to nothing. I can't help thinking I was sold a pup when he declared that Russian hussars get the lancer bonus in the first charge because a certain percentage of hussars were armed with lances. I don't know enough about Russian cavalry to challenge that, but it smelled fishy to me!
  3. He really likes it when he rolls well, but not so much when the dice don't co-operate (but don't we all!)
Anyway, he's very competitive, but once all is done and dusted and hands are shaken we're all friends again! He gave me a lot of good advice on how to play against Russians next time (especially when they're commanded by him!), so what with the game against Tim and this one, I'm hoping to scratch a win next time!

The main lesson I have taken away is to abandon my Guard units for Friday night games, and to replace them with more line troops to provide a more in-depth reserve. Also, I know intellectually that I shouldn't try to defend all the real estate in front of me, but end up getting spooked into spreading myself too thin and then have my too-thin line broken and rolled up. This game was no exception!

My Franco-Italian forces

I went for light cavalry this time; hussars and chasseurs

The heavy mob; Italian Guard grenadiers and chasseurs

The general surrounded by his troops. He managed to survive unscathed this time!

Darren's forces holding the right flank

John's infantry. A sea of flags!

John's forces including cavalry and artillery.

Pete's troops

A shot along the combined Russian front. A sea of billowing flags!

John's first move was unexpected; he moved his infantry in front of his guns!

His cavalry fan out on the flank...

...followed by his jaegers....

...which spooked me into a counter move, instead of refusing the flank, which would have been a better option.

Not a lance in sight! ;-)

My hussars and horse guns face the Russian cavalry threat...

...while my infantry heads into the woods in the centre...

...supported by the light infantry.

The closed column anchoring the mixed order formation on the right cops  a hiding from the artillery...

...and then is charged by 2 battalions of infantry...

...with predictable results! Run away!

The Russian hussars charge the guns, but are counter-charged by the french hussars...

...with an inconclusive result, both sides forced back to their starting points with losses and disorders.

In the woods, I unwisely engaged in a firefight with 2 battalions in line. With more muskets brought to bear, his lines were always going to have the upper hand. My higher morale wasn't enough to prevail, ending in another stalemate

The firefight in the woods from another angle; Lotsoflags!

After John's successful charge, his 2 battalions are left fairly exposed, even though they threaten the exposed flank of my line.
My Croats line up for a charge, with the Corps commander  attached

The other Italian battalion also lines up in case the Croats fail.

Meanwhile the Italian line sweats. "Avanti, avanti!"

On my other flank, the guns open up on the Russian infantry ahead, while the Guard wait for an opportune moment to charge.

Darren advances on my right

John's guns command the walled field. I was avoiding them as  I thought they'd be 12lbers, but they turned out to be only 6lbers. Still, there was enough of them in the one battery to make it wise to steer clear!

One of John's battalions in the open changes facing , deploys into line and fires on the flank of one of my battalions in the woods, causing them to retreat

The infantry in the woods then cop artillery fire after the Russian infantry moves out of the line of fire.

The no-longer anchored line is sent packing after failing a pre-melee  morale test...

...leaving the way open for a charge by the 2nd hussar unit on the  other Italian unit. They manage to lazily form square  after rolling a 1 on a d10 (they needed 4 or less!)

The resulting combat forced both cavalry and square back, and caused a great big hole on my left flank. 

The Italian horse guns did some sterling work on the approaching Jaeger columns, though...

...and stopped the 2nd battalion in its tracks!

With a rush of blood to the head, my hussars charged a Russian infantry unit, but were counter-charged by the Russian hussars and sent packing!

The rot was setting in on the right as well. A light battalion is forced to retreat.

Enough of this! Time for the Guard to justify its existence. CHARGE!

The results were a bit of a damp squib, resulting in a Pyhrric victory. I only forced a retire, not a retreat, and ened up masking my guns to no real advantage.

At last, some success in the centre!
I pivoted the repulsed column on its axis, so I faced his line's flank, and poured in a volley, causing them to fail the reulting morale test and head for the hills! HUZZAH!
Of course, next turn, their exposed flank was charged by Russian reserves and sent packing after failing the resulting morale test, even with the general's bonus.
The Croats' charge again resulted in a Pyhrric victory,  with no real gain as a result.

The Italian gunners have more success, firing into the flank of the Russian hussars,  causing 2 casualties and forcing them to flee after they failed the resulting morale test! HUZZAH #2!
(but of course their flank is nicely exposed to the jaegers)

I try another charge with my Guard units and a Light battalion, but as there are too many units running in the vicinity, my chances of success are slim

The Guard bounces, but the light infantry flee!

The chasseurs charged in support of the artillery, but couldn't save them, and now find themselves well and truly contained and in danger of destruction.

The remnant of my infantry face off against a fraction of John's Russian infantry. You can see to the upper left how his Hussars are threatening to roll up the line while the infantry pin me to the front.

In the end,  I tried, too late, a general advance with the infantry in the field masking the Guard units from the artillery fire in preparation for another charge and combat, but John beat me to it. A flank approach and fire on my Guard chasseurs, followed by a frontal charge broke them and resulted in John requesting the divisional morale test, which I duly failed. Game over!

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