Saturday, April 23, 2016

French Vs Russians

The first semi-final of my "Horse and Musket" era Tournament pitted my Revolutionary French against my Napoleonic Wars Russians, battling for possession of a small village surrounding a strategically important crossroads.

Despite both armies fielding quite sizeable forces, this amounted to little more than a skirmish with almost no casualties.

Speed of deployment proved to be decisive, as the French arrived first and were able to establish a strong defensive position north of the river, forcing the Russians to approach from the south, with the bridge then acting as a choke point.

While the dragoons leading the Russian column did make it across the bridge, they immediately found their path blocked by a rapidly increasing number of French forces. They succeeded in destroying a squadron of French scouts that was sent forward in an effort to persuade them to turn back, and inflicted some casualties on the supporting French infantry that was following up.

But with overwhelming numbers of French now pouring through the village from the north, east and west, the Russian commander decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and withdrew across the river, determined to find another point of attack.

The French now meet the winner of the clash between my Seven Years War Prussians and my Napoleonic Wars British in the tournament final.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Austrians Vs British

Bit of a fizzer this one!

When I first made the tournament draw up I was excited by this clash, as the different colored uniforms of the two armies would have made for some neat pics. But neither army was very enthusiastic about getting involved, and it ended up as nothing more than a brief skirmish between a small portion of each army's cavalry......

On a morning where heavy fog kept visibility to a minimum, the advance guards of the Austrian and British armies (mostly cavalry - the British had a gun but it didn't see any action) clashed over a bridge in a skirmish that was over almost as soon as it started.

The Austrians won the right to choose which side of the river they entered from and took the side with the village, hoping to establish it as a supply depot. (Austrians in white, British in red).

The Austrian Dragoons reached the bridge first, but as they crossed it, the (British) Scots Greys came within sight. The Scots Greys immediately charged the Austrians, inflicting heavy casualties (including the Austrian general) on the leading squadron, before pushing on into the second squadron.

Thrown onto the back foot, the Austrians were badly shaken, and as their morale collapsed, the Scots Greys continued their work until the enemy was in full flight.

In the end, an easy win for the British, who now face the Prussians in the tournament's semi-final round. My French and Russians square off in the other semi.

Still on the waiting list also is the "Barbarian World" Final between the Britons and Picts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bavarians Vs Prussians

I'm a little behind schedule with this update due to busy weekends the past couple of weeks. The battle did go ahead as scheduled, a little over two weeks ago. It's just taken me this long to get the photos etc sorted out.

The Bavarians (variously decked out in the light blue, green and white, and approaching from the left in the pics) failed to match the efforts of previous weeks' performances by my minor nations, and were pretty much steamrolled by my Prussians (in the dark blue, generally approaching from the right in these pics).

The terrain was pretty simplistic - a mostly flat farmland area with just the farmhouse, a few trees, and further north than where the action took place, a low hill. A road ran past the farmhouse, giving the two armies access to the area.

The Bavarians arrived first and attempted to set up a defensive position in and around the farmhouse.

Unfortunately, once the Prussians arrived on the scene, it soon became obvious that the Prussians had enough artillery to be able to sit back and pummel the Bavarians into oblivion. This forced the Bavarians out of their defensive position, but as an attacking force they lack the punch to break through the Prussians, and although they were able to inflict heavier casualties than the Prussians would have liked, were soon overwhelmed (see the pic at the top of the post).

Prussians advance to fight the winner of the Austrian Vs British encounter in the semi-final round. (Russians Vs French in the other semi). Hopefully Austria Vs Britain will take place over Easter weekend!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Brunswickers Vs French

This weekend it was the turn of my Brunswickers to make their battlefield debut, and to see if they could fare batter against a larger Revolutionary War French army than my Belgio-Dutch did against my Russians last week.

At the heart of the contest, was a small village (center picture), near a river (to its left) crossable only by a single bridge. The village sat upon a "T" intersection, with the roads meeting at this point providing entrance and exit points onto the battlefield. Some low hills and a small wood made up the remainder of the terrain, but played no significant part in the battle. The French won the right to select which side they defended, and chose to enter the battlefield from the west (the river side), with a secondary column coming on from the north later in the battle. The Brunswickers approached from the east.

The French started faster, and quickly moved their Guard Chasseur cavalry across the bridge and into the village, with infantry following and taking advantage of the open ground to the south of the village to deploy. In both places, the French found themselves confronted by Brunswick jager (elite riflemen - in gray in the above pics) and began taking early casualties. As more French troops made it across the bridge however, the French were able to begin pushing forward.

The jager were gradually forced back, pitting the French against the Brunswicker lieb infantry (in black).

Despite being heavily outnumbered, the two lieb battalions held on grimly, repulsing one assault before finally being overrun.

As with the Belgio-Dutch last week, the Brunswickers put up a real gritty fight, and should prove to be a very useful ally when they merge with other nations as part of a larger army. They just don't have the numbers to be able to handle anything more than a very small scale action on their own.

A decisive victory for the French, who will meet the Russians in the semi-final round of the tournament. Next week, my (Napoleonic Wars) Bavarians will see if they can win one for the minor nations when they come up against my Seven Years' War Prussians.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Belgio-Dutch Vs Russians

Jumping ahead a few centuries now, we find ourselves in the opening round of my "Horse and Musket Era" tournament, featuring my Lace Wars and Napoleonic armies. (No, you didn't miss the Grand Final of the "Barbarian World" Tournament - it was just too cold last weekend to do ANYthing, so that battle has been rescheduled for some time in the not-too-distant-future).

First up in my Horse and Musket Era tournament, were my (both Napoleonic armies) Belgio-Dutch and my Russians in a non-historical match-up. This was the first outing for my Belgio-Dutch, who are more of an add-on for my British army than their own army. But as I needed eight armies for the competition, they found themselves promoted for the purpose.

The two armies clashed over the crossing point of a river - a bridge, with a small village on the south side.

The Belgio-Dutch arrived first, and were able to get their light cavalry across the bridge just as the Russians began arriving. (Dutch Light Dragoons in front in the blue, with Belgians in green backing up).

Trying to buy time for their supporting artillery and infantry to reach the town, the Belgio-Dutch crossed the bridge and tangled with the advancing squadrons of Russian Dragoons. The Dutch squadron inflicted an early bloodied nose on the Russians, but greater numbers enabled the Russians to wear down the Belgio-Dutch forces and overrun them.

The skirmish lasted long enough however, for the Belgio-Dutch to get their infantry and supporting artillery up to the bridge and into a strong defensive position blocking the southern end of the bridge. A short artillery duel saw the Russians knock out the Dutch artillery battery, but taking the village still meant the Russian infantry regiment had to storm across the bridge under heavy musket fire from the defending infantry. They led the way with the grenadier battalion, which was just as well, as even these veterans were shaken by the heavy losses they took mounting the assault. The grenadiers were eventually overpowered by the Dutch, but not before their supporting musketeer battalions had been able to also get onto the bridge and press the assault.

Once again, numbers began to tell, and with the Belgian infantry battalion performing at a much lower level than their Dutch counterparts, the Russians were able to establish a foothold in the village. Despite sustaining heavy losses in the attack, the Russians were able to force the defenders out of the village, and off the field of battle.

A win is a win. It came at a heavier cost than the Russians would have liked, but they advance to the semi-finals, where they will meet either the Brunswickers or the French. All going to plan, that will be fought next weekend.

Remaining first round matchups in this tournament see my Napoleonic Bavarians tangle with my Seven Years' War Prussians, and my Napoleonic British square off against my Seven Years' War Austrians.

And, also in the future - Ancient Britons Vs Picts to decide my champion Barbarian army.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Britons Vs Picts (Tournament Semi-Final)

Lots of terrain looks great on the battlefield, and it can make for some great photos (if I don't get too engrossed in the action and forget to take them), but it sure makes moving the figures more difficult.

The Briton army of Queen Brietta and the Pict army of King Morial came to blows as both attempted to take control of the village in the center of the above picture. The Britons approached from the south-east (bottom right) and the Picts from the north-east (top right). The Britons arrived just before the Picts, and as early morning fog cleared away.

King Morial had been advised by his druids that the omens favored all out attack, and to that end he promptly dispatched his Light Horse - his fastest troops - to race ahead and seize the village while he brought up the rest of the army in support. Queen Brietta's druids had advised against an initial attack, and therefore she was taking things a little more quietly.

Due to their earlier arrival, the Briton Light Horse reached the village first, but were quickly driven off by their more numerous Pict counterparts. Seeing her horsemen fall back from the village, Queen Brietta immediately began establishing a defensive position around the bridge that she and her main column had just crossed, with the aim of trying to counter-punch a way through any enemy in the way.

Queen Brietta then pushed her Pict Crossbowmen (fighting against their countrymen - obviously from a different clan. See photo above) - through the woods in an attempt to secure the eastern approaches to the village, and pressed her own Briton archers into the village.

Seeing the approaching Britons the Pict horsemen in the village launched a swift counter-attack. The javelin-armed Whelps (pictured above) were forced to scamper out of the way to allow the archers a clear view, but the archers held their nerve and inflicted heavy casualties as the horsemen raced through their ranks. A supporting Briton warband then raced in to complete the destruction of the Pict horsemen.

Meanwhile, as they pressed through the woods, the Pict mercenary crossbowmen came under attack from King Morial's leading Warband. The crossbowmen fell back through the woods, inflicting casualties at a sufficiently steady rate that by the time the warband reached the far end of the woods, its numbers had been depleted to the point that it was ripe for counter-attack by the Briton warband waiting to greet them.

The initial Pict challenge fended off, (and the above photo taken from Queen Brietta's position on the field) Queen Brietta now began to push her forces into the village and through the wood. King Morial, realizing he was facing a much larger army than his own decided that discretion was the better form of valor, and withdrew, leaving the Britons in charge of the field.

Effectively, all the action had taken place in one small corner of the field, and only really involved a portion of each army. Nevertheless, sufficient losses had been inflicted on the Picts to leave no doubt that this was not going to be their day.

Queen Brietta now prepares for a (tournament Grand Final) showdown against the Pict army of King Cynon. And I face the prospect of not having enough Celtic figures to cover the two armies, even if I rope in my eastern Celts (Dacians and Thracians). Doh!

Hopefully one or both armies will dispatch an outflanking force that gets lost and never shows up!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Picts Vs Skythians

It's a real bummer when your friends let you down!

This week's encounter matched the Skythians of King Sakesfaris against the Picts of King Cynon. King Sakesfaris was hoping for assistance from King Saitafem of the Paralatai clan (Skythian Royal Clan) and some of the Thracians they had subjugated as a result of their last battle, while King Cynon was expecting help from the MacRiderch Clan (more Picts) led by Queen Brisen.

The two armies met on the banks of a river (see the photo above, with "north" at the top), with the Skythians coming from the north along the west bank, and the Picts splitting their forces as they came up from the south. The river was only crossable by the bridge in the center of the battlefield, with the bridge surrounded by a small village; possession of this area was going to be the key. It was terrain more to the Picts liking than the Skythians, but sometimes life's like that!

Both leaders dispatched their allies on (off-table) outflanking maneuvers in the hope of luring the enemy into a trap - that had worked so well for the Skythians earlier in the year when they raided the lands of the Thracians, and King Sakesfaris especially was looking for a repeat result.

Apart from the fact that rain began to fall shortly after both armies arrived on the scene (the Skythians especially like to use their bows as the primary weapon, which becomes difficult when the rain gets into the strings), the early stages went pretty much to plan for both armies.

Mounted on horses, the Skythians made faster progress, and were able to secure a position beyond the bridge on the west bank, and attempt to defeat the Picts on that side of the river while they were isolated from their friends. Their archery rendered almost ineffective, King Sakesfaris was prompted to push forward and fight hand-to-hand by the sight of the enemy divided, and also by the timely arrival of his allies on the exposed Pict left flank.

Instead of joining the fight however, King Saitafem held his forces back, merely observing events as they unfolded. King Sakesfaris himself was killed in the fighting, and had his son, Crown Prince Gnur, not been on hand to take over command, the Skythian attack may have evaporated at that point.

Battle on - in the driving rain and mud - they did however, eventually breaking Pictish resistance, but at a high cost.

By now, King Cynon had advanced his east bank forces as far as the bridge. His Light Horse drove off the Skythian Horse Archers initially sent across the river to secure the bridge, but with the Thracians now appearing on the scene, he withdrew his horsemen and sent in his own warband. (The photo at the top of the page shows the Picts - nearest the camera - taking on the Thracians on the bridge).

It was at this point that Queen Brisen (see photo above) arrived on the scene with her forces, and despite taking a brief "time out" of her own on arrival, she held true to her promise to King Cynon, and pushed her forces in to help clear the bridge. In desperation, Prince Gnur made one final plea to King Saitafem to come to his aid, but the latter instead withdrew his forces from the field, leaving Prince Gnur hopelessly overmatched.

Realizing the cause was lost, the remaining Skythians conceded the battle, using their greater mobility to escape pursuit, and retired to their homes vowing revenge against their "ally".

The druids of the Picts meanwhile, claim credit for the win, asserting that it had been their "prayers"/incantations/etc that brought down the rain and forced the Skythians off their normal game plan.

King Cynon's army now advances to the Grand Final of my "Ancient Barbarian World" Tournament, where they will meet the winners of next week's "Britons Vs Picts" battle in an all-Celtic matchup. King Cynon and Queen Brisen celebrated the victory, and the Celtic festival of Imbolc (Jan. 31/Feb. 1) by sealing their alliance with a marriage - both had been predeceased by their previous spouse, and by joining their clans together into one, they will no longer be vulnerable to the "Ally General" loyalty test (that destroyed the Skythian alliance here) before their next outing.

Prince (now King) Gnur meanwhile will prepare to take a grievance to the annual kuriltai of the (Skythian) clans in March, in the hope of gaining some measure of compensation from King Saitafem and his tribe. (An opportunity for some political shenanigans to add to the mix!)