Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Latest additions - newly recruited Austrians

Having finished painting the upgrades to all of the existing Austrian units I've started to add some completely new units. 

I am starting with four German infantry regiments: The first pair will be 21 Lacy and 41 Bayreuth; the second pair are 23 Baden-Baden and 29 Loudon. I have chosen to do these two pairs of units because each pair wears an almost identical uniform, allowing me to paint them in 'double batches' of 48 figures without much thought.

The first pair of units have now (less basing) been done.

 22 Lacy (left) and 41 Bayreuth (right). Only the pompoms differentiate the units.

These are Front Rank figures in the marching with shouldered musket pose. 

I know this pose is not to every one's taste, the marching with musket upright pose is more popular and somehow looks more SYW, but I love this pose because it is the easiest / quickest pose to paint.

Flags are over painted versions of the Greenwood and Ball design.
From the direction you usually see your Austrians (before they turn and run), I think the pose looks quite purposeful.

One thing I have done, is to replace the cast on officer's partizan pole with a wire one. I'm fed up of having straighten them out and touch up flaked paint; they stand too proud of the unit and are forever getting caught on player's sleeves. 

Lastly I thought I'd show the difference between old and new painting styles. The unit on the left, 14 Salm, was painted ten to fifteen years ago (?). They style hasn't changed that much over time but there are differences. 

Next up, regiments 23 and 29 in with dark blue facings. They are in the 'marching with musket upright' pose. They are black under-coated and ready to go.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

As one pile disappears, another lifts its shiny head

So, with the Russians finished and the last four units of Prussian infantry and two units of Prussian cavalry on hold, I've been working on getting my Austrians back into the fight. 

At the moment this is largely a case of upgrading my 16 man infantry units to 24 man units and re-basing the army on 45mm wide bases to match the Prussians and Russians. It's an awful job; trying to match painting I did fifteen (?) years ago is quite difficult; painting figures and not having 'new' units to show for the effort is a bit dispiriting. On the up side, I only have two units of Hungarian infantry to go.

When the Hungarians are done, there will be a small 'game-able' army all ready to go. It comprises:

5 regiments of cuirassier
3 regiments of dragoons
1 regiments of hussars

8 regiments of German infantry
2 regiments of Hungarian infantry
1 unit of combined German grenadiers
3 battalions of Grenzers

3 batteries of guns

9 command stands

Then I can start increasing the size of the army by adding a few new units. Here are the plans for that expansion - the number in brackets is the number of units already in the shiny pile. I expect to have this lot done by the end of the year.

3 regiments of cuirassier (1)
2 regiments of dragoons (1)
2 units of combined elite companies (1)
4 regiments of hussars (1)

8 regiments of German infantry (6)
1 regiment of Hungarians (1)
2 unit of combined grenadiers (1)
3 battalions of Grenzers (3)

3 batteries of guns (1)

This will give a nicely balanced army of 54 units comprising: 28 units of infantry, 20 units of cavalry and 6 batteries of guns that will able to take the field in war game campaigns with the Prussians (50 units) and Russians (54 units).  Except for a 'universal' pontoon train and some 'universal' limbers that I plan to add for completeness, this is where my Seven Years War project will end for the foreseeable future.

Then, I can start my Peninsular War collection. 

Friday, 16 January 2015

An army finished - Russian SYW - Roll call!

Today I put my brush down on my Seven Year War Russian army. Finishing an army is a significant moment for any war gamer. The chance to say "finished" is never one to be sniffed at. Every usable Russian in my lead pile has now been painted. Every planned unit has been done.

Will there be more units to come? Maybe but, not in the immediate future. I may, in years to come, add a unit of field guns, two or three units of line infantry, a unit of dismounted dragoons, and possibly a unit or two of jagers, but not for now; for now I have enough; my enough is, thankfully, nowed.

What did I need to paint to finish the army? Well, actually not that much but, after the Zorndorf project, I felt uninspired to finish the last three units of cavalry and command stands. The units I have added are force balancing additions for campaigns and the like.

What made me paint them now?  I looked at the battles I could do and found Paltzig 1759. I could just about do it if I added a couple of units of cavalry - which I had in the lead pile - so I waded into them. With just 11 more figures needed, after that, to remove the pile completely, the temptation was too much. I had to take them off the to do list altogether.

So now, less three units and three commands to base (a mere trifle), I have decided to "Roll Call!"

Dragoons and Horse Grenadiers: Two regiments of each.
Hussars: There are four regiments of hussars but one is at double strength - Horvat - this latter unit wore the same uniform as two other regiments, so it's a useful colour scheme.
Cuirassier: Four units of cuirassier.
 Three batteries of howitzers.
Five units of the Observation Corp. The four regiments that took part in the SYW plus their combined grenadier regiment (?).
 The line infantry....
..that amount to 15 units - perhaps too few?
Combined grenadiers from the infantry: There are three units of these.
Cossacks: I have painted 64 of these buggers. You absoletely need them for any Russian army, but you can't find any (war game) military reasons to include them. We are not talking 1812 here - these cavalry were generally useless, even in campaign terms.
Field guns: Three batteries, of everything, these might be the first component of the army that might need reinforcement, but only by one battery.

There is, of course, another thing I've been painting. It's not complete, but my next post will detail my plans and show where I'm at...........

EDIT: Whoops, forgot to mention these guys. Four Grenadier Regiments.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Solo Zorndorf - part 5

This report will combine the action from turn 5 until midway through turn 6, at which time the battle was effectively ended. Turn five and six were unusual in the number of high initiative swings they produced - the double six domino appeared no less than four times, and there were several other doubles too. 

On the Russian left Demiku's cavalry and Schorlemer's cavalry came to grips all along their lines.
On their right the pressure was building as Seydlitz brought his cavalry to an undefended length of the Galgen-Grund but, as it was, the Russians had had enough.

They broke and fled towards the Hof-Bruch.
Things were not going well for the Russians. The Observation Corps was beginning to feel the sting of Prussian musketry.
But, at the Galgen-Grund things were going from bad to worse as their line collapsed.
Seydlitz was across the Galgen-Grund and, cutting off the Russian retreat as they fled helter-skelter for the safety of the wetlands of the Hof-Bruch, his troopers captured them in their thousands.
What Russians remained to the left of the Observation Corps were pressed back onto the boggy ground. The elated Prussians began their advance to finish them off.
Only the Observation Corps remained largely intact.
The cavalry action on the right was now beginning, and the Prussians were getting the best of it here too.

This ended turn 5.
The last of the Russians fleeing to cross Hof-Bruch in the direction of Quartschen were captured by Sydlitz's troopers.
Then, by chance, things started to turn in the Russians favour on their left. Perhaps, just perhaps......
In the centre the last of Saltykov's and Galitzyn's troops were being shot to pieces.
In a last counter attack, born of desperatation, a couple of determined battalions of combined grenadiers take advantage of a lull in the musketry. 
First one regiment of Prussians took to their heels...
...then another. 

Was this last gasp of the Russian infantry enough to swing the battle. 

The Prussians are down to a handful of morale chips. The Russians still have some to spare.
Back on the Russian right they are throwing themselves into the fight with some elan. Schorlemer's cavalry begin to break.

The Russians are invariably rolling dice of less value than the Prussians but are winning hands down on almost every roll.
Even the Cossacks are encouraged. 

We are using a difficulty check before allowing Cossacks to close - this does not apply to Heroic Cossacks!

At first they are thrown back but,.....
..........they attack from every direction and overwhelm their adversaries.
It looks like it is too late. Without warning a fresh attack by Dohna's infantry upon the Russian left causes the Observation Corps to disintegrate.
The Russians draw double six and the Prussians draw a nine. The Russians have 21 initiative points. Low and behold, first card up is Command Indecision and they lose the lot! It never rains when it pours.
The Prussians now spend their six initiative points and win the first sixteen of the next initiative with a high double of their own. By the time it is spent, their are no Russian infantry still in the field. They only have a couple of regular cavalry units (the others having galloped off in pursuit), a few regiments of unreliable Cossacks, and two morale chips left. The Prussians have troops galore and one morale chip.

The Russians throw in the towel and order a general retreat.

The last two turns saw the Russians finally run out of luck. They got their cards at the wrong time, their firing was ineffective due to poor dice rolling, and the Prussians got much more initiative. Only in their last gasps did their luck begin to change but it was far too little, too late.

This was another solo success, as far as I'm concerned, The battle took seven or eight hours to play out, and playing it a turn at a time was definitely the way to do it. It also made the AARs easier to write as things were fresher in my mind. I hope you have enjoyed reading the AARs.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Solo Zorndorf - part 4

The only advice I received about what the Prussians infantry should do, is to attack. So, that is what I decided their plan should be. I decided that the Russians should hold their centre, possibly making a local counter attack if the situation looked favourable, whilst trying to outflank Dohna's infantry with Demiku's cavalry; the Russians should give up their position to the right of the Galgen-Grund as a lost cause.

So the game began. Turn 4. Let the Prussians at 'em!

Fat chance, the first dominoes give 17 initiative points to the Russians and only 6 to the Prussians. And the Russians go first!

I've included this shot to show how I'm running the initiative for this battle. Each side draws a domino from a cloth 'cash' bag. The player with most spots wins the initiative and will go first. The number of spots on the winning domino is the number of initiative points won. Except, if either side draws a double the spots on both dominoes are added together and this is the number of initiative won. The loser gets the spots on the high side of his domino as initiative and goes second in the initiative round, unless it is double domino - when the loser gets both sides. The turn will end on a double blank domino and any domino totalling an odd number of spots being drawn together. It sounds more complex than it is in practise. I'm using the left hand clockfor the Russians, right for Prussians; there are no impetus phases in my domino driven games.

The Russians used their initiative to forward the advance of Demiku's cavalry, bringing them them up to the Langer-Grund. 

This is only a minor obstacle - stop at contact then no effect. In reality, it was the a slight dip with some soft ground at its bottom.
Along the line the Russians who can see Prussians in front of them let fly with volleys of musketry and to good effect. The Russians momentarily catch sight of the Prussians coming through the Stein Busch. The Russian battery commander is on his metal and immediately orders a salvo of canister from his Secret Howitzers.

My favourite Piquet sequence card is Heroic Moment. When you first play Piquet you generally use it to get a unit bonus to fire, or hope you draw a move card that will allow you to move a unit twice, or perhaps use it a a melee card for a chosen unit. All well and good but, it is so much more than that. The last line of the rule book definition is "Some room for interpretation is allowed; heroic people should also be innovative!". To me that means only one thing - you can bend the rules with it! In the above case visibility range should be limited to 4", because of the trees, and the Prussians would therefore be out of sight; but, this is 'heroic' artillery fire; perhaps the Prussians walked into a clearing visible from the battery, perhaps they just made too much noise crashing about in the undergrowth but, whatever they did, that artillery saw them and opened up.
Between the Zabern-Grund and Galgen-Grund Seydlitz launches his cuirassier into the last remaining Russians.
Schorlemer, seeing the threat that Demiku poses to Dohna's flank comes forward at the first opportunity.
On the other flank the Russians are finished.
On the other side of the Galgen-Grund, the fire fight is vicious. Both sides give everything they have got. 

However, the Prussians have been constantly mauled by the Russians and at last, their will to fight is lost and they melt away.
Marschall's dragoons now face the Russians without infantry support but, the Prussians have been lucky with their cavalry attacks so far.
Before Demiku can turn onto Dohna's Flank, Schorlemer's cavalry engage them in some inconclusive melees.
 Dohna's infantry burst through the Stein Busch and are on top of the Russian centre.

At long last, the Prussians turn an infantry move card. Such are the vagaries of Piquet.

Beyond the Galgen-Grund Frederick has brought up the infantry he rallied in the rear. 

He relinquishes them back under Manteuffel's command.

They begin to press a flank attack across the Galgen-Grund.

The Galgen-Grund was a shallow steep sided muddy 'ravine', overgrown with bushes, with a stream at its base.
The Observation Corps is now coming under pressure and one of its units cracks....
....but Browne is on hand to stop the rot and they are just a soon rallied.

A regiment of Dohna's infantry have moved across the Langer-Grund - probably a bit of local initiative being shown, it better work or that colonel will be cashiered.
At the end of turn 4, the whole of the Russian line is engaged in fierce fighting. 

On the left, Dohna's infantry and Schorlemer's cavalry are pressing the Russian left.
In the centre the bulk of Dohna's infantry, ably supported by the remnants of Kanitz's command have emerged from the Stein Busch and are engaging the Russians closely.
On the Russian right, Manteuffels infantry are launching an assault across the Galgen-Grund.
Everything is poised for the end game. Both sides have barely 20 morale points. Both sides still have reserves with which to launch an attack or bolster a defence. It's going to be close.