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!