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Friday 31 August 2018

A Village Hex

Continuing on from my last post, I have now completed a hex to represent a small village/hamlet. It consists of two houses straddling a road section hex. It has sufficient room for units to pass through and for them to adopt defensive positions amongst the buildings.  Made from foam board and card, these no frills structures are quick to make and provide an effective solution to the scenic work on a hex playing area:
Seen here with a unit passing through on the road:
The village can be expanded by adding additional structures in adjoining hexes:
For other periods such as WW2, there is enough room for the largest of my 1/72 scale vehicles:
I will probably make one more to give enough to represent a town.

Thursday 30 August 2018

New Terrain Piece

I have settled on using five inch hexes for my Napoleonic wargames and have been slowly building terrain features. The biggest challenge has been buildings, which need to look vaguely in scale, but of a size that will allow a unit to fit within the hex.  So far I built a walled farm, a larger farm/chateau, and my latest is a church, with wall.  This will make a useful strong defensive position:
It is made from foam board, balsa and card and painted with DIY sample pot paint. Here is the same building with an infantry unit within the walls:
My infantry units are 12 figures on four bases.  It will also accommodate a gun battery on one of my standard artillery bases:
The  next terrain project will be a two or three house village.

Monday 27 August 2018

Napoleonic Army level operations - an emerging idea.

I have been reading with interest about a growing move towards playing games that involve whole armies fighting, rather than a couple of Brigades or a Division on the table. Inspiration has come from sites such as Bob Cordreys developing Napoleonic game, as well as Hexblitz and other sites, such as the Napoleonic Wargaming Blog; Napoleonic Wargames 

In most cases a grouping of units, which would be about a brigade on my table, represents a corps, with four or five 'corps' making up an army. I have tried this to some extent with Command and Colors by using figures, but even this does not give manoeuvre feel of a number Napoleonic corps widely dispersed.

With this in mind I have dug out my old 'big fat' 25mm Minifigs and based them along similar lines to those described in the blogs.  I am just about able to field an Austrian army:
This army consists of five 'Corps'. Four are infantry consisting of four blocks of 12 troops, a gun, a cavalry unit and a command figure. The fifth corps is a cavalry corps of three units of heavy cavalry and a horse artillery gun.

I have organised the French in a similar way:
My plan is to devise a mechanism, whereby the battle will start with one or two Corps in contact and the remainder marching to the sound of the guns. The table will be divided into entry sectors and the marching Corps will arrive in one of those sectors, with a D10 time delay. This should make for an interesting game. 

Sunday 26 August 2018

Day 10 Siege of Sevastopol - The British Assault

After a further drenching of the siege lines the rain finally stops and amid huge political pressure from London, Raglan gives orders for the British 2nd Division to assault the Redan, following a three hour preparatory bombardment.  The British begin their preparations; however, the weather changes again and the morning is greeted by a thick blanket of fog that has rolled in off the Black Sea. The British gunners advise Raglan to postpone the attack as they will not be able to fire the guns.  The infantry commanders, keen to at last get to grips with the Russians, having been humiliated by the French for their inaction, urge Raglan to order the attack. The British commanders feel that the fog would allow the infantry to reach the Russian defences unseen. Raglan orders the assault.

At 7am the British leave the protection of the trenches and begin to move forward:
However, by 8am the British are still trying to organise themselves with the added confusion of trying to form a Division into line in dense fog, without alerting the Russians in the Redan.

But; the Russians had not been idle and, by taking advantage of the poor visibility, they manage to stealthily move four Regiments out of the Malakoff, towards the unsuspecting French. As the British are dressing their lines the unsuspecting French and Sardinians in the Mamalon see a surging mass of grey coated infantry rapidly advancing towards them:
The allies face a dilemma - do they use their command points to support the British attack, or the French defence.  The hard fought for Mamelon must not fall and so main effort becomes the French defence.

The Russian assault quickly overwhelms the forward French defenders and a Caucasian regiment pours into the Mamelon defences:
A second Russian regiment pushes forwards and the Sardinian defenders collapse. The Russians take the Mamelon:
On the other side of the field the British begin to advance, but at 9am the fog begins to lift giving the Russian gunners a juicy target, with a whole division spread out across the open ground. The allied staff on the home ridge witness carnage as shot and shell plough through the British lines. One Regiment halts and pulls back in confusion.

To their right the allied commanders can hear the crackle of musketry and emerging from the smoke is a steady stream of allied soldiers fleeing the Mamelon. A Russian flag can be seen flying from the ramparts.

Over at the Mamelon Sardinian troops mount a counter-attack and a regiment of Bersagleri force their way into the defences, crushing the Caucasians:
The Allies gain a toehold in the Mamelon once more, but the Russians again break through and the Sardinians are ejected:
Over on the left, the British have reorganised and advance steadily towards the Russian lines, as cannon fire continues the mow down their ranks:
Once again on the right the allies attempt to mount a counter-attack against the growing number of Russians in the Mamelon, and have some success initially:

But the exhausted French and Sardinians are spent and now outnumbered. Fighting uphill against the buoyant Russians becomes futile. Soon their is just a single French unit remaining:
Although causing some damage to the Russians the French unit is unable to hold on and is soon heading for the rear. The Mamelon has been lost!

On the left the British assault reaches the walls and a highland regiment smashes into the forward defences pushing the Russians out.

With a cheer the British surge forward, but they are caught in a deadly crossfire and soon the highlanders are no more and canister and musket balls cut into the following ranks:
It becomes evident to the British commanders that this assault cannot succeed and the order is given to withdraw.

As the evening sets in the allies lick their wounds and take stock of the situation. They have lost the Mamelon and there are insufficient troops to retake it, without significant reinforcement. The British 2nd Division failed in its attempt to take the Redan losing half of its strength.

Amid the political row during the following days and cries for commanders heads to roll, Raglan and Pelissier resist pressure to mount another futile assault, but decide to reorganise and bring up additional men and guns - but there will be no attack for several weeks.

This phase of the siege draws to a conclusion and it is a resounding Russian success, having recaptured the Mamelon and destroyed most of the allied forces on the right and having given the British a bloody nose on the left.

As a game this battle was very enjoyable, being broken down into short daily chunks.  The mechanisms worked well and allowed a complicated campaign to be played out without becoming bogged down in the detail.  At the end I think the result was a fair reflection of reality and the limited command and resupply points mimicked the inept command and logistics evident in the Crimea.

There is scope for a second attempt at a later date.

Sunday 19 August 2018

Days 7 & 8 Siege of Sevastopol

I have included days 7 and 8 together as so little has happened. On day 7 the weather changed to rain, which lasted until noon. The British guns banged away for most of the remaining day causing minimal damage to the Russians, with the infantry in the forward positions taking some casualties. As dusk drew in the guns fell silent as ammunition was used up. That night with the boggy wet roads the Allied supply score was a poor 2, meaning that there would be insufficient ammunition for a full day next morning.

The Russians decided to sit tight, conserving ammunition for the inevitable assault on the Redan. Resupply was used to bring up more fresh troops.

Day 8 was supposed to have been another day of bombardment, but continued rain and supply problems reduced this to just two batteries firing sporadically throughout the day.  The allied commanders met that evening and determined that the assault must begin soon and that further ammunition supplies would be conserved to support the attack.

The allies rolled a 4 for resupply, which did not provide enough for all batteries to be supplied.

Saturday 18 August 2018

More on the mystery figure

Thank you to all those who have commented on this Minifigs figure (I am pretty sure it is Minifigs).  I have a copy of the Minifigs 1972/3 catalogue and the personality figures listed are:
I know it is none of the British figures and I am pretty sure that it is none of the French personality figures. So it could be the French ADC, French Marshall or the Prussian, Austrian or Russian general figure. Of course it could be a figure added to the range later as I know there were more personality figures.

The horse, in my view does not help, as these are generic to all figures and all of the horse furniture is on the figure itself.

I have taken some more close up pictures:

What is interesting is that pictures 4 and 5 show what appears to be a frock coat coming down to about knee length. In the same pictures the saddle cloth shape looks non French.

I am still not sure. Could he be Russian?

Friday 17 August 2018

Help needed to identify this figure.

This mounted officer cam with a bundle of other bits and pieces. He appears to be a Minifigs S Range mounted general. He has a large droopy bicorne style hat and the usual senior officer's uniform. I thought he might be Spanish?

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Day 6 Siege of Sevastopol - Action before the Redan

Having agreed that the British should begin operations against the Redan, during the night the guns are resupplied and orders given for a major bombardment of the forward Russian defences forward of the Redan. The aim is to target the infantry to weaken them prior to the assault.

With preparations in place a roll for weather is made and a score of ONE means that days of sunny weather end as fog has come down during the early morning, masking the guns and and delaying the bombardment. A roll of the D10 sees the fog clearing after six hours, around 2pm.  This has seriously disrupted the British plans for the day.

However, the British use the cover of the fog to move some skirmishers from the Rifle Brigade forward. As the fog lifts the crackle of musketry breaks the silence, followed by the roar of the guns.

The British riflemen engage in a brisk firefight with the Russians behind the defences, with minimal success. The Russians return fire and some of the Greenjackets begin to fall:
The next turn is better for the British, with sufficient action points most of the guns open fire, including the heavy mortars:

The combined heavy artillery and rifle fire causes one of the Russian regiments serious casualties and next turn, further casualties force it to rout off the field.

In a counter move the Russians deploy a Jaeger regiment which begins pouring fire into the left hand rifle battalion, causing heavy casualties and forcing it to retreat:
As dusk nears the exchange of fire continues, but the British casualties mount and soon the second Rifle battalion is forced off the field.  With visibility reduced the firing stops and both sides assess the damage. There is no clear winner, although British casualties are higher, at around 300, and so the Russians probably came off on top.

Monday 13 August 2018

Day 5 Siege of Sevastopol - Deliberations

Day 5 began with a meeting of the two allied commanders to determine the way ahead.  The political background was largely unchanged.  In Paris there was great celebrations as the news of the fall of the Mamelon filtered out; although there was criticism of the British who were accused of not supporting the valiant French effort. The political direction from Paris was simple - take the Malakoff when ready, but France cannot afford too many more casualties for this operation.

The message to Raglan from Horse Guards was supportive of current operations, but would wish to see a British victory before the Malakoff is taken.  The London press was less kind, with Raglan depicted as sitting on his hands, wasting huge sums of money for little gain, while the French claim all the glory.

Raglan and Pelissier chewed over the options. While publicly stating that the French wish to assault the Malakoff immediately, privately Pelissier informs Raglan that his army is spent and without additional troops an attack on the Malakoff would likely fail.

Raglan proposed that the day be spent resupplying the artillery and that the guns should switch the bombardment to the Redan as a preparation for a British assault in the next 2 -3 days. Meanwhile, the French should continue to fortify the Mamelon against a counter attack. Pelissier agreed.

Friday 10 August 2018

Day 4 - Siege of Sevastopol

Political Games
Given that two attempts to take the Mamelon have failed and this is at the cost of getting on for 5000 French troops, I thought it might be interesting to include a bit of political intrigue at this juncture. I think the most important aspects are the political reactions in capitals and the political relations between the two key allies; France and Britain. I am not considering the Russians at the moment, but may do later.

I have devised a simple series of charts with a column for each nation. Rolling a D6 at each stage. The first part tests the national mood, ranging from great concern at the bottom and need more of the same at the top (satisfied). Once the national mood is established there are two charts. If the mood is bad then the political message demands more actions on a sliding scale. On the other-hand if the mood is good then encouraging noises are made by the politicians. I am assuming that political advisors are present in the Crimea and they receive higher level advice via telegraph from London and Paris (with a time delay).

At this point I tried the test and both the French and the British rolled D6 for mood. In both cases the politicians are content at the moment. In the case of the British the direction was 'Continue as you are and await the outcome of the French assaults before ordering any British actions'. The French orders were to 'Continue attacks against the Mamelon', and with previous direction: if successful it is essential France gains the credit, avoid seeking British support unless absolutely essential, on no account should British troops enter the Mamelon before the French'. And now - 'France may support British requests for support'.

So for today, it is business as usual!

The 3rd French Assault
This time the French decided that a dawn silent approach should be tried in an attempt to get as close to the ramparts before the Russians are alerted. Four allied regiments climb out of the the forward trenches:
Unfortunately for the French the Russians are not dozing and the resupplied guns begin pouring shot and shell into the advancing columns. The left hand Sardinian regiment is particularly exposed and loses hundreds of casualties to the guns on the main ramparts:
However, the battered Sardinians, the Turks and French manage to reach the walls of the Mamelon and fight the defenders:
This time the attackers are in sufficient numbers to push back the Russians and one of the Russian regiments is pushed aside, the Turks break into the Mamelon; however, the weakened Sardinians collapse and rout to the rear, and the French are also forced back:
The Turkish hold on the Mamelon is short lived as they are driven out once more. This attack is beginning to go like the previous assaults, with each successful attack being pushed out. However, this time the allies rally and once more assault the walls.

Another Russian unit collapses and suddenly the second Sardinian regiment is in the Mamelon:
With a French unit assaulting in support the remaining Russians on the Mamelon feature are also forced out with heavy casualties. The Allies are now in control of the Mamelon:
The last Russian defenders are swept aside as the Allies celebrate on the heights, quickly bringing forward additional troops and engineers.  The Russians do not have sufficient troops to counter attack and the day ends with a brief exchange of artillery fire.

During the night the French fortify the Mamelon to thwart a counter attack expected at dawn:
The Allies celebrate and with a roll of 4 bring up more troops into the French sector, mostly Sardinians.  The toll for the days action is 726 allied casualties and some 2640 Russians, most of which were caused as they collapsed inside the defences.

That night the Russians, who roll a seven, rearm their artillery and bring in three fresh regiments into the area of the Malakoff.

Thursday 9 August 2018

Day 3 - Siege of Sevastopol - 2nd French Assault

The butchers bill from the previous day's fighting amounted to some 3168 French killed, wounded and missing and 1221 Russians.  The French, although dismayed that they did not capture the Mamelon, were encouraged by the French Grenadier Guards who managed to gain entry to the defences. believing that the Russian defenders must be weakened, a further attack today might carry the Russian position.

During the night more Allied troops move up to the forward trenches, the French forces being augmented by additional battalions and some Turkish troops. At dawn the French prepare to attack once more:
They begin with a barrage from the combined French and Turkish artillery and are encouraged when the Russian battery on the Mamelon is hit, losing many gunners:
With the preliminary bombardment completed the infantry assault begins:
Almost immediately the French guards assaulting the battery are hit by salvo after salvo of cannister fire and are completely destroyed. A second French line regiment is cut down by musketry from the walls and is forced back - the attack falters:
However, one of the Turkish units attacking from the right makes it to the wall and engages the Russian infantry:
Unfortunately the Turks are isolated and are quickly forced back next turn. The Mamelon remains in Russian hands:
The allies reorganise themselves, order up some fresh troops and assault the defences once more:
The same Turkish Regiment reaches the walls and batters its way into the Russian defenders, but the other assaulting troops are forced back. The lone Regiment is now in the Mamelon, but totally unsupported:
The result is inevitable and the Turks are destroyed. Once again the Russians control the Mamelon. But, the brave Turks have bought time for the allies, who are able to bring up more assaulting troops:
On the French left a line regiment storms the Russian heavy battery and sweeps it aside. Once more the tricolour is inside the Mamelon defences:
Having destroyed the battery the French push forward, but are met by two Fresh Russian Regiments who force the French out at the point of the bayonet:
The allies make a fatal mistake. Another French line regiment forces its way into the Mamelon, but instead of bringing the supporting Turkish regiment with it, it is decided to assault the right hand defences held by a severely weakened Russian unit, this fails and the Turks are mown down as they approach:
Once again an isolated French regiment is in the Mamelon and the Russians quickly counter attack, once again driving out the French:
The cheering Russians watch as the battered remnants of the allied assault make their way back to the home trenches:
The cost is 2112 allied casualties to 561 Russians.  The allied commanders confer and feel that just one more assault should carry the feature; so during the night the French and Turkish guns are resupplied and two fresh Sardinian regiments take their place in the line. The Russians roll a better resupply score this time around and are able to resupply the guns and bring up a fresh infantry regiment into the Malakoff; however, they no longer have any guns left in the Mamelon.