Monday 31 July 2023

The Battle of Hausen-Teugn 1809

Yesterday I took a trip to Chris Gregg's place to take part in Day Two of the Hausen-Teugn scenario he was putting on for us. I was on the French side, with Paul my co-player as C-in-C. Having recently read about the action in Gill's superb book I was sort of au fait with the issues surrounding the terrain, the confused French OOB etc. Fortunately Paul had walked part of the battlefield and as C-in-C, drafted the following plan, with which I wholeheartedly concured.

Our plan drawn over Chris' excellent map. In short we were to push forward over the Hausenberg hill and through the woods, so that we could see where and in what strength the Austrian were. We deployed all of our cavalry on the left flank as this was the most open terrain and the best chance for them to see action. After that it was keep the Austrians as far away from rows A-B, to give our baggage train (off table) the chance to escape.

After a chat over breakfast, Chris gave Paul and I an overview of the action from Day One and where we were at the start of Day Two. In short the Austrians had moved much faster than we expected (lots of good command rolls and Initiative Move wins too) so they seemed to be very much on the front foot. Chris had done an excellent job in interpreting our orders and commanding the French, which were spread across the table and with a lot of units to owrry about!

So having been briefed, Paul and I had a quick conflab to decide upon how best to proceed, with myself taking the Right Flank under Davout and Paul the Left Flank. The Centre was pretty devoid of troops, so in effect we had two battles going on at the same time, which helped speed things up. Guy and Dillon took on the Austrian command, with myself facing Dillon and Paul facing Guy.

As the action was full on from the start, there was no time for note taking and little for photos too, but I snatched images as and when time allowed. I will annotate them if I think it might add something in terms of the action during the game, but otherwise just enjoy Chris and Paul's superb 15mm figures and as always Chris' lovely terrain. So without further ado:

An overview of the table, with the French along the right. Teugn is at the top right hand of the photo.

French Cavalry on the left flank, facing a pretty strong Austrian force.

The Austrians pushing forward in the woods, with only Light Infantry and Cavalry facing them.

The French forming up outside of Teugn to try and drive the Austrians out of the woods on the Hausenberg.

The Austrians are firmly esconced on the Hausenberg, with the French having failed to drive them off on Day One. Again they are preparing to try and regain control of these heights, which really dominate the surounding area.

French Artillery in support of the Infantry.

The French advance begins to form up but is slower than I would have liked.

Austrian reinforcements are arriving, out of view of the French, with Grenadiers led by Archduke Charles at the top left. A formidable force with many large units.

Davout has managed to recall some Infantry whose arrival comes not a moment too late on the French Right Flank.

French Infantry move into the woods to push back the Austrian Light Infantry. Another Austrian force is moving up through the woods (the blinds) but the French are not aware of them yet.

Austrian Light infantry face off against the French, who are struggling to gain the Hausenberg.

Austrians are moving up on the French Left, but the terrain is hampering both sides ability to co-ordinate their attacks.

Dillon ponders how best to utilise the Austrian Grenadiers...

... who move along the stream as attacks go in on the Hausenberg.

The French continue to try and clear the woods on their Right Flank as the reinforcements move forward from their line of march.

Splendid Austrian troops!

A decisive Cavalry battle is taking place. The French win and drive off the Austrians who lose units.

Wonderful Austrian artillery. I love the limbers with the right hand one by the house having fascines or forage added to it. A lovely touch!

The French man their guns as the Austrian Infantry close on them. A whiff of grapeshot is certainly required!

French Infantry reforming in Saalhaupt.

The heavily wooded Hausenberg meant the the main attacks went in either side of the woods here. Both sides Light Infantry spend all of Day Two in a Mexican stand off!

The French attacks have been repulsed with heavy losses, but just managing to avodi having units rout. A close run thing.

The French still trying to force the Austrians back from the woods. Despite having a tough time in doing so, it is delaying the abiltity of othe Austrian troops to move forward there.

The Austrians firmly in control of the ridge, with more troops mving up to reinforce their position.

The French are happy to reform in the comparative safety of Teugn.

The French now in control of Saalhaupt.

Things have begun to die down on the French Left Flank as both sides need time to reform their units, but the French are in a strong position.

A final shot of more wonderfully painted figures.

End of the Game
With late afternoon having arrived, the game reached a natural conclusion, with the both sides needing time to gather their units for the next phase of attacks. Around Teugn another two turns at least would be required before the Austrians could attack, by which time the French could have organised a very good defensive position in and around the village. Ditto on the French Left Flank.

So with things as they were we called a halt and Chris decreed that the torrential downpour that had halted the real battle had arrived. After totting up the victory points for both sides, the French came out as victors with 30 1/2 points to 14 (or maybe 18?). Either way a surprise for us as the French, given our positions, but we had successfully prevented the Austrians from pushing through our positions, this saving our baggage train and lines of communication.

Post Game Thoughts
A wonderful game with Guy, Dillon and Paul as always, played in the right spirit throughout and lots of good bonhomie and banter and of course not forgetting Chris for hosting us, sorting out the scenario and making another fine game board to play over. I recking we played for about 5 hours, with an hour off for lunch and luckily we had a chance for some post game chat, which was good. So a few thoughts in no particualr order:

  • Once again Chris' rules played well and rarely had to ask him for clarifications etc. Things moved along at a far old pace which was nice, allowing us to reach a conclusion at the end of the day.
  • On the French side we really did have that feel of a confused meeting engagement, where we were often reacting the Austrian moves and were having to throw in piecemeal attacks to keep the Austrians as off balance for as long as we could. Sitting back and waiting for them to come to us was not an option.
  • The terrain really did hamper both sides, but I think the Austrians more so due to the sheer number of troops they had, plus they had quite a few large units, which struggled to find space to deploy. The open ridge of the Hausenberg opposite Teugn was an obvious example as Dillon really had to try and fit a Quart into a Pint pot!
  • We all agreed that the game did feel like the action descrived in Gill and it gave ua a better understanding of what happened and why.
  • The Austrians, especially on Day One of the game, performed far better than their historical counterparts, moving forward with alacrity, thus limiting the French ability to have time and space to react to their moves. Again we agreed that it showed a sort of 'what if?' in terms of had the Austrian commanders showed more elan and intiative, then this battle and maybe others might have been different. Whether it have changed the course of the campaign is of course a moot point, but it does provide food for thought.
  • Chris' and Paul's figures were a joy to behold and I just wish I'd had more time to appreciate them and to take photos too. 
  • Once again smaller figures allowed for a lot more room for manouevre, even when taking into account the limits imposed by the terrain. It also looked a big battle, which IMHO 28mm never quite achieves.

Right, I hope you enjoyed my attempt at a sort of AAR and if nothing else, appreciated the figures and the terrain. Time for a bit of a rest as it was a long but thoroughly enjoyable day and then back to painting some 18thC India troops.


Thursday 27 July 2023

The End Of The Beginning

Last night I finished the final primer basecoat of the last of my core units for the 18thC India project. It has taken sometime but a mix of the weather (still awful for July) and focus, the latter rather unusual for me, has meant that I can now start the main job of painting. As you can see from the images below, this will probably take some time!

A quick parade of the troops as they are expected to deploy. Essentially 3 Brigades of Line Infantry, with Light Infantry and Cavalry on either wing.

Each 'Wing' will comprise 2 units of Light Cavalry, two of Light Infantry and one Zumburak Elephant unit, which will count as Light Artillery. At present I'm not sure if to have the Light Infantry as normal (ie 2 bases) or large (4 bases). Some play testing and chat's with Dave will sort this out I'm sure.

The Centre mad up of 3 Brigades, with a mix of British, HEIC & State Infantry. The mix will vary slightly with the right hand Brigade being the most powerful as befitting their post of honour. Support will be provided by Medium Artillery and some rather nice but not very effective Indian State Heavy Artillery.

A small Reserve of Heavy Cavalry and State Infantry is planned, but could expand or not be included at all. 

The whole force plus a few extras such a bullocks to pull the guns easily fit in an A4 box file. Normally I could include two forces, with a shelf about half way up, but the flag poles and elephants prevent this, unless I leave a double height opening at one end. 

I'm looking forward to starting to pain these, focussing on the easy wins first in terms of the Light Infantry and Light Cavalry, slowly working my way up to the trickier British Line Infantry and finally the Elephants. With luck most units will take a day to paint, but even at this pace, that is still a good months painting I reckon! At least I have broad ideas for colours for the uniforms and flags sorted, so it should be a case of just steadily working my way through. Updates to follow in due course.

This Sunday I'm off the Chris Gregg's for the Napoleonic game which should be fun and then the following week there is a local IPMS and Wargames Show which I missed out on last year. Reports from both will be posted as and when time allow.


Thursday 20 July 2023

Sci-Fi Indulgence

Things have been moving along at a nice and steady pace here of late, so I thought I'd provide a bit of an update on what's been happening on the gaming front. So in no particular order:

It's life Jim, but not as we know it
A classic line along with "It's worse than that, he's dead Jim" or "Klingons on the starboard bow" is my feeble attempt to segway into some recent sci-fi purchases. These are based upon the wonderful creatures from the Alien films (the first two are absolute classics) and I've been mulling over getting them for several years. So after some light bedtime reading of Xenos Rampant I took the plunge and ordered a mix of figures with no firm plans just as yet on how to base them etc.

The bare metal figures from Pendraken next to some 10mm cavalry to give an idea of scale, with the base being 40mm x 30mm. I wasn't quite sure how big they were but am very happy with how they fit with the other figures, as I was worried they might be smaller than I wanted.

As is my wont, I already have loads of ideas of settings for them! A few include:

Space 1899 to use my 19thC figures.
Quatermass and the Pit for my AVBCW forces or even WWII.
Archaeological digs in Eygpt, so think the Mummy films with Brendan Fraser (I have a great Mummy figure should I need it).
Italy at Pompeii or Herculaneum with Vesuvius being their lair .
Sicily 1843 with Etna being the lair (again).
Los Alamos nuclear tests.
Tunguska type event.

Well you get the idea. Really I just fancied something that is pure fun and gives my loads of leeway for my games, which is pretty easy to do to be fair with this genre. Really the only limit is your imagination. I'm certainly looking forward to painting them, probably mainly black with colourful and bright marking and a good gloss varnish coat to really make them pop.

Scratch Building
I've always loved scratch building stuff and have some ideas for later in the year, once the India 18thC project is wrapped up for the wargames show. But as a sneak preview, the following items will form the basis of a couple of 'things'.

See if you can guess what they might become, after all it's not rocket science...

The Korean War
With Father's Day recently come and gone, I treated myself to the latest BKC supplement from Pendraken on the Korean War. I have no plans to game this really but like to see what new rules they include and what ideas I can take from them for WWII or a possible 'what if?' of the Cold War kicking off in late '45 or '46.

Very happy with the purchase but the maps had to be done at the last minute as the person lined up to do them pulled out the day before it went off to the printers!

Prime Time
For more years than I care to count I have primed my figures using either spray guns when at work or aerosols, the latter of which I always find hard to control, but do provide good adhesion. Then I saw a small video on Little Wars TV where Greg Wagman simply painted his 10mm figures with black paint over the bare metal using a brush. So I thought I'd give this a go as the weather these past few weeks has seen lots of rain which meant no aerosol usage was possible. Well it worked pretty damn well and allowed me to prime loads of stuff that I simply wouldn't have been able to do if going down the aerosol route. The other big advantage was NO toxic fumes as aerosols contain loads of really, really nasty chemicals! So I can see me now using the brush for most of my work but will still use aerosols for my AFV's due to the better adhesion and coverage.

18thC India
With my 'new method' of priming I have been making great progress on getting my 18thC India project moving force at a nice pace. I still have about 8 bases of infantry to do and then when complete, can start on painting each unit. I have an idea on uniform colours which will speed things up no end, at least for the Light Troops that is. I find that if I can see myself making progress, it spurs me on no end. Some of the units that will take more time to paint are included below, as they are pretty cool, but of doubtful use on the field of battle, but that is really not point!

Ottoman heavy siege artillery masquerading as some from an Indian state. However they did use Ottoman artillery experts and from what I can see the designs are fairly similar. I had intended to scratch build a wheeled platform for this, pushed by elephants and pulled by oxen, based upon illustrations I've seen, but I knew it would take too much time and effort given the October deadline I'm working to.

Some Magister Militum elephants with Afghan jezzail armed infantry. Of little use by the mid-18thC and rather like the artillery above, more of a status and prestige thing to have. Time permitting these should look nice and colourful on the table top.

I'm carrying on with various bit of terrain and hopefully some updates to show you in the coming weeks.

In Other News
With the school holidays upon us, things might slow down a bit as SWMBO and I take day trips etc as and when the weather permits. Our daughter now has a job in London which starts in October, so I might be allowed to have a semi-permanent games room if I'm lucky! Also our son, after many hurdles, should now be on the way to supported independent living, which might take some time to sort out, but at least that's positive news!

I have another Napoleonic game at Chris Gregg's at the end of the month which I'm looking forward to and will natrually provide a report post game. All the hard work he has put into it already should pay handsome dividends for all involved.

No gaming at all at present and I'm trying to maintain focus on the India project, rather than get distracted, which is my usual modus operandi! At least once things are moving on that front and I'm happy, some games will surely feature.


Tuesday 4 July 2023

18thC Indian Flags

Sometime ago I was searching for any information on flags used by the various Indian forces during the 18thC for our forthcoming game in October. I think it fair to say that finding anything is pretty hard. However I came across Mal Wright's Blog one evening quite by chance that has a pretty good selection to say the least. So far it is the best source I've come across. To see them you'll need to scroll down towards the bottom of the post.

Not only does he have a good selection for India, but also a very useful and eclectic mix for other periods too, so well worth checking out. Too many tempting periods there, so be warned!

Sadly there is little info on what the Honourable East India Company used for the flags and standards, but I'm sure something can be cobbled together. For our game we might be going down the ImagiNations route, given that there were plenty of Companies in action at this time, plus I have a cunning plan to make it fit in with our on going 'Rhubarb Wars' campaign/games, but more on this in another post in due course. So any flags or standards can have a liberal dose of artistic licence!


Wargaming 'Risorgimento'

Well things have been somewhat quiet on the painting and gaming front here, owing to us in part having had the hottest June on record. We knew it had been warm and frankly like being on holiday in the Med for much of the time, which was rather nice to be honest, but a record breaker came as a bit of a surprise! So much of my time was spend gardening and keeping stuff alive and it was simply too hot to paint, assuming you could get if from the brush to the figure before it dried. 

However Blogging kept me in the loop so to speak which as ever is a big bonus, especially for those in my position. One of the joys is seeing what other Bloggers are up to and earlier in June, one such post sent me down an unexpected but rather enjoyable rabbit hole.

Italian Risorgimento
The Italian Risorgimento was briefly covered at school and college, with the focus always seeming to be on Garibaldi and his efforts to establish his global biscuit enterprise gain Italian independence. With my ongoing interest in the 1848 - 1871 period, I was happy to read Bob Cordery's post on a new book on the subject, but one that covers the Armies that fought throughout the wars for independence. An order was soon placed and despite it coming from Poland, it took two weeks to arrive!

But the wait was worth it as this is simply a wonderful book! If you read Bob's post above, you will see that in the comments loads of lovely 'what if's?' have been mooted, which has certainly caused the butterfly to flap rather frantically here. Luckily pretty much all the figures I currently have for my ImagiNations Armies will work really well for many of the units shown.

On the ImagiNations front, it did occur to me that they always seem, by and large, to be set in 'Germany' rather than anywhere else. Of course 'France' and the 'Low Countries' make the odd cameo, but somehow never 'Italy'. There is lots to offer here for the gamer and my little grey cells have been mulling things over for sure. But more on this another time.

Terrain for India and Far East
The above book did help kick start some gaming related activity, namely getting back to sorting things out for our planned 18thC India game at the Cotswold wargames Day in October. Now many of you will now I love scratch building stuff, sadly at the expense of actually painting figures, but it is something that is easy to fit in around parent/carer duties. 

The buildings contained herein look a bit dated now but there is plenty in there to inspire one, even in today's 3D dominated market. The Afghan hill fort is something I plan on making, or at least inspired by.

My paddy fields ready for paint, which is progressing nicely since this photo was taken.

A quick trial to make my doormat wheat fields look, well, more like wheat! Simply some coloured flock (looks like saw dust that has been dyed) glued to the top with pva glue. The sample worked well and now I have to figure out how to scale it up to make it easier to do my larger fields. A nice challenge for sure.

I have plans for some other bits'n'bobs for the table, many of which have been inspired by David of Tales From GHQ fame. He really does put on a good game, with lots of lovely little details and vignettes to delight the eye. If you've never visited his Blog, I highly recommend you do. I've found a 10mm tiger already and hope to scratch build some other things too, time permitting.

The Pile Of Shame
Well not quite but a real mix of stuff that I've brought down for priming so that I can paint them as and when the Muse is upon me. Lots of 'planes and AFV's which I've bought over the years, with the former rarely getting used in games but just lovely to have. Maybe it's the memory of making kits that makes we want to buy them?

What's Next?
Well the weather has finally turned and at last we have some much needed rain and cooler weather, which means I am at last returning to sorting out my figures etc. I'm trying to maintain my 18thC focus as even though the show is 4 months away, I know the time will fly by and I'll be left rushing at the end. I saw a Little Wars TV episode on painting 10mm figures a day or so ago, which I'm going to give a try to see if it helps speed things up for me. Time will tell. At least I will have plenty of free evenings now that Wimbledon has started, which means less Netflix watching which is all too easy to do.

There might be another FtF game at Chris Gregg's towards the end of the month, subject to SWMBO being OK after some dental work. As always I have plenty of ideas but just lack the mojo to actually put a game on. After all it's a hobby so I'm not sweating about it and it's time will come for sure.