Friday, 6 October 2017

6mm Napoleonic Russians - Batch 2

The table is currently being set up for Jena so I'm afraid these guys will only get the mantle-shelf treatment.

My first batch (about 1/2 a Corps) were some of the first Napoleonic 6mm I painted and were some donated Heroics & Ros (thanks Alan again!). So it was nice to round off my c.4 yrs of bulk 6mm painting with another 1/2 Corps of Russians, but this time from Baccus.

Six battalions of mitre'd Grenadiers - Pavlovsk and LiebGrenadier. Blame Peter for only selling them in packs of 96!

Normally I have 12 cavalry in close order on a base. For the Cossacks I decided to go with 1/2 sized bases and only 3 per base - so I think that gave me 8 regiments worth! Painted one as Guard Cossacks and another as Bashirs.

Four regiments of heavy cavalry, two as Dragoons and two as Kuirassiers.

The LiebGrenadiers again (its the red disc at the top of the mitre to tell the difference!)

The other end of the heavy cavalry line-up.

There were also 6 battalions of Musketeers (2 each of Tobolsk, Volhynie, Kremenchoug facings) and 3 of Guard (2x Preobrazhensk, 1 x Semenovsk) and 3x Grenadiers with Kiver (Kiev, Moscow, Astrakhan facings I think).

As mentioned that bring to the end my "bulk" painting of 6mm Napoleonic so I now have about 2-3 Corps of French (+Guard), 2 of Prussians and one each of British, British Allies, Russian and Austrian.

The aim now is to paint a "batch" (~30 units) every year of "fun" stuff or to fill in gaps - but that will be shared with ECW and Medieval. Some more Spanish seem to top the list at the moment (esp the guys with the long tails on their hats!)

Monday, 2 October 2017

Battle of Towton 1461 - Battlefield Walk

Heading back from dropping elder daughter off at Durham, and seeing as the dog needed a walk I decided to go and take a look at Towton as it's only about 10 mins off the M1/A1(M)/M18. We left it a bit late, and a huge rain storm had just been through, so every thing was wet, muddy, and eventually dark!

An official walk was set up a few years ago with 10 information points. Unfortunately its really around the rear of the Lancastrian position, so apart from the spur out to Point #2 in the middle of the Yorkist lines you cant really walk over the big field in the middle of the road fork, so the Towton Dale/North Acres area where most of the fight would have been.

Looking S from the cross to the Lancastrian R/York L
The walk is on a reasonably well kept wide path between fields and is about 3km. It takes you from the cross along the edge of the Cock Beck, and then into Towton. We turned round at #9 as I didn't want to bring Paddy back along the road in the dark (the roadside path was more or less impassable).

From cross to the centre of the battlefield

In the image above the lone tree is just behind the York centre. Not really evident in the photo is that there are 4 (4!) major power stations visible on the horizon - including Ferrybridge (the sight of the skirmish the day before). It probably just highlights how empty this area is!

The real take-way from the walk is how deep a gorge/valley the Cock Beck is in. This image shows the start of the drop - and you can easily see how routing troops in moderate armour would soon be toast as they slipped and slid down a steep muddy bank. "Bloody Meadow" is more or less in the middle of the photo.

Paddy learning about medieval weaponry!

It was getting dark by the end! This is from #2, looking from the Yorkist centre to the Lancastrian lines. Towton dale which cuts across from L to R is quite pronounced, and this was only just up the S (York) slope, so the view N towards the Lancastrian lines was very limited - my guess is that the main York position would be further S up the slope so as to get a better view - which matches the battle diagram above rather than the board description. Again the slope being quite pronounced would have readily facilitated a field of carnage in the dale with muddy ground and lots of armour.

Overall whilst a quite minimalist site its really is an atmospheric place, and when we visited it probably as bleak as it was on the day!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Battle of Agincourt II - My Medieval Rules WIP - Pt 2

Rules playing going well, even if  not a lot of time to do it (I blame the Cossacks I'm painting!).

The French Main battle is now approaching, but the front rank of crossbowmen is coming off worst in the firefight with the English archers, and routing French are causing morale damage even on the rear Battle.

Added in some rules for General vs General individual combat, so they should get a good test as we enter the main melee phase.

Really ought to make some "arrow" damage markers to replace the smoke-puffs from my gunpowder era games!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Battle of Agincourt II - My Medieval Rules WIP - Pt 1

A lot better game, rules proving a lot more straight forward, and the card activation a lot easier to keep track off.

Both the MMAA units were routed again by bow fire, and this time there was a mechanism for them to cause some morale damage as they went back. The main French battle sent DMAA into the ends of the English bow line, but the archers are managing to not crumble instantly (in fact I abandoned the "dagger" weapon as they got no hits in the first round, so upgraded them to sword, now doing too well, so now introducing a "secondary weapon" between the two.

Archers vs DMAA on the French right flank - 2 all!
The main body of the main Battle came on, taking damage from the archers. Surprised at even with a 9+ (longbow vs plate) all four D10 could fail to hit (which of course is reasonable). The "stalled" result on a double has also worked well, no triples yet!

The lead DMAA makes contact. It had taken 2 damage out of 4 to get alongside the English archers, but Orlean's then finally managed to roll a bonus command point and used it to drive the DMAA home before the English could get another shot in. Already weakened they lost another damage.

Weakend French DMAA crash into the English bow line

Not 100% sure about the melee system. Currently each side rolls for damage on opposition, but only the DIFFERENCE is applied to the loser. Putting the markers out as I roll so I don't forget works well. It does reduce the amount of damage, but despite an extra rule does mean that the winner of each round is unlikely to take damage.  I used the difference approach so say two lots of heavy knights don't decimate each other in one go - but that may be liveable with for faster degradation of both sides. Will try it once DMAA starts facing DMAA.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

One Page Medieval Big Battles Rules Draft

Given my dissatisfaction with Hordes & Heroes on the last outing, and the mismatch between rules like S&S and TTS and what I want for a big-battle set I've quickly pulled together a 1 page set of medieval big battle rules. Will try them out over the next week on the Agincourt scenario and see how they play.

If you want to give them a try they are at:

Very abbreviated at the moment just to give me some structure - but if you know your rules your can probably work out how they work. The rules use D10 and a similar damage and morale model to my Steady Lads Steady Napoleonic rules. They are designed for 10cm Hexon hexes (but could modify for non-hex play),  with one unit per hex, and unit being about 500 men. Figure scale up to you (but I'll be using 6mm now and 20mm next year).

If they look good I'll gradually work them up into a proper set and possibly put them through either a magazine article or a free PDF.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Battle of Agincourt - AAR

Well that was over quicker than expected! The French cavalry moved forward against the English archers and got obliterated. Then the French Van moved forward  against the English archers and got obliterated. And all without any melee - not how Agincourt went. Same again with the Main battle.

I then let the French take a time-out and do some re-organisation and send the Rear battle in en-masse and against one of the flanks. They finally managed to break an archer unit, and could then start wrapping ip the flank and finally get to grips with the centre without all the fire from the flank.

The battle then disintegrated into about half-a-dozen one-on-one melees. But with equal participants in most cases (English MAA stretched thin!) the melee would only give at least 1 damage for 6/36 rounds (as H&H B&C class need 3+ hits for at least 1 damage), so it was all going to get pretty boring. I called a halt.

One of the final melees

The final situation

When I last used Hordes & Heroes (for Bosworth) I thought it worked pretty well - but this time I just couldn't get on with it. Key issues were:
  • Longbows were devastating even against MAA - they hit on 8+ on D12 (so 42%) - and you're rolling 4x per unit, and the English were getting 2-3 units firing on each MAA TWICE per turn. OK it's not a 1:1 map of hits to damage (hits-3 basically) and with only 3 damage per unit the MAA were gone pretty quick
  • The IGO-UGO model with both wises firing in each fire phase, and melee in both phase made it hard to keep track in the sort of interrupted solo games I play
  • The "flee" result which comes up from about 4 hits onwards send a unit to the back line, where it automatically rallies, even if its only taking 1 hit! So potentially having fought one battle you might have to fight it all over again!
  • The two stage hit calculation/damage chart mechanism is a bit cumbersome, particularly given the chart is a 10x5 grid
It probably wasn't helped by the French having to charge (slowly) into the valley of death - but at least they should have made contact!

So I think I'm going to park H&H. But where to go instead? I've tried both To The Strongest and Sword & Spear and both have nice points, but they aren't really solo big-battle rules. I had c.43 units on the table, so single activating every one as both rules require would be a real pain. I've tried and passed on Impetus and DBA variants.  I might do a quick look on freewargamerules, but other wise there isn't a commercial rule-set I can think of that fits the bill - so probably time to write my own simple set!

Should be play-testing by mid-week!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Battle of Agincourt - 1415 - Prep

Agincourt: View from above the French lines

Having finished my 6mm Medieval a month or so ago it's time to play a game with them - and what better than Agincourt. I'll be using Kallistra's Hordes and Heroes again which worked pretty well for Bosworth last year. I use single 80mm width units, and then just use damage markers to simulate the reduction in "bases" from 4 to 1. Given that H&H is about 1 hex = 100m, that makes each of my units about 4-500 men assuming 4-6 deep.

Based on Anne Curry's book I need about 9000 English (so 18 bases) and 12000 French (24 bases). English are biased heavily (75%) to Bow, the rest DMAA. The French are the opposite, about 25% Box/Crossbow and 75% MAA.

One mistake I made ages ago was interpreting (mainly from popular media!) those MAA as being mostly mounted, hence I bought about 4 packs of Mounted  MAA to paint. Now I prep for the battle in detail I realise that only about 2000-2500 (4-5 units) were mounted, and the rest were DMAA - so I've had to supplement my meagre DMAA stocks with Bill for the game (but treat as DMAA). I'll do another pack of DMAA next year to give a decent amount for other battles.

Clignet de Brabant poised to attack early on the French right flank

The battlefield lays out quite nicely with Hexon, that alley of death between the two woods, and a slight rise at either end - and an English baggage train ready to be sacked at the far end. All terrain is being counted as broken to reflect the sodden state on the day - so all move at 1, no impact, but I will allow missiles to fire over it.

English archers with stakes line the wood edge

The final orbat I'm going with is:

  • 5x MAA (two for the initial assault on the bows, rest in Rear Battle)
  • 13 x DMAA
  • 4 x Crossbow
  • 2 x Longbow
  • 1 x MAA
  • 3 x DMAA
  • 14 x Longbow
  • 1 x Spearmen (guarding the baggage)
  • 3 x Commanders (one per Battle)

I've given the two French advanced MAA and the two English flanks of bows their own Commander under H&H (Move1/Range1), otherwise they would fall fowl of command distances.

The English centre, stakes up,  Henry ready to give the order to advance!

The aim is to roughly follow the historical battle, so English move forward (just 1-2 hex), French cavalry charge, French Van attacks, and we'll see where it goes from there!