Friday, 29 April 2016

Austrian Army finished - ROLL CALL!

It's done! The Austrian army is finished and ready to go on campaign. Time for a parade.

You can't have a parade without officers. A C-in-C stand and eight 'brigadiers'.
The dragoon regiments. Seven regiments in total, including two in horse grenadier uniform pictured just behind the cuirassiers. They are, front to back, DR 31, 6, 28, 38, iii, and in horse grenadier dress DR 1 and 37.
The cuirassier regiments. Eight units in all: they are, front to back, left to right, CR 25, 21, 12, 29, 8, iii, 14 and 23.
The hussar regiments. Five units in all: they are, front to back, HR 11, 32, 2, 30, 24.
The German musketeer regiments. Eighteen in total (including two combined grenadier units): they are, front to back, left to right, IR 36, 10, 47, 22, 41, 14, two combined grenadiers, IR 29, 3, 23, 50, 28, 12, 59 and 1.
The Hungarian musketeer regiments. Four in total (including one combined grenadier unit): they are, front to back, IR 31, 2, 37 and one combined grenadier.
The Artillery. Twelve guns including one howitzer. 

This may be the only place I might make an additional purchase; I might buy another one or three howitzers, without crew, to swap with guns to give a better historical mix.
The Grenzers. 

There are eight units in total from three districts. 

Front to back, there are three Karlstadter units, two Warisdiner units and three Slavonisch units.

Each represents a battalion rather than a regiment.
So there you have it. My Austrian army. It is fifty six units strong and comprises 168 mounted, 640 foot and 12 guns.

My Seven Years War collection is now officially my largest. With the fifty units of Prussians and fifty six units of Russians I can reveal it now comprises:

  • 162 units.
  • 530 mounted figures. 
  • 2,055 foot figures. 
  • 36 guns.

That makes a grand total of  2,641 figures: Wow, they soon add up. There are also some civilians and some transport wagons and a coach with teams but they just confuse the count and can't shoot anyway.

I suppose the question now is, have I finished, and the answer is probably not. At some point I'll probably buy a few howitzers for the Austrians and Prussians, a further battery of guns and a few heavy unicorns for the Russians, some limbers and teams, and a pontoon train. I will also, at some point, buy a load of French and Indian War stuff for large skirmishes, but apart from some civilians and limbers / wagons the collections will have little crossover potential so I'll count those 'armies' as a separate collection anyway.

Unlike my Punic collection, which absolutely dragged after the first 1800 figures, I've enjoyed painting these to the very end. I do hope I feel the same about my next project. This has been a long time coming and I've prevaricated for far too long. The next new painting you see will Front Rank Napoleonic figures for my Peninsular War collection. I've recently finished re-sorting through all 28 Kg in the lead pile, and even added a further couple of hundred pounds worth at Christmas to cover one or two first order blunders, so with fifty three units all bagged up I'm all set to go.

Next on the blog, Lobositz 1756 which I'm preparing for Derby, then a Bohemian Blitzkrieg campaign - well now I've painted the bloody things I'd best get playing with them!

Seven Years War Austrians - finished!

At long last, I've managed to squeeze in some work on my own figures and get the last of my Seven Years War Austrian army finished. It has been a long time coming and I'm not only pleased but, frankly, relieved.

So, here are the latest additions: 3 units of cuirassiers, a unit of dragoons, a unit of horse grenadiers and three units of hussars. All are Front Rank figures. These units bring the Austrian cavalry count up to twenty units. 

This is DR 1 Erzherzog Joseph. I have painted it as its elite company of horse grenadiers. I have done this so that it can be used either as DR 1 or to represent a unit of combined elite companies from several regiments as the need arises.

This is DR iii Althann. This unit did not see that much war service and I chose it for other reasons. The first reason is aesthetic: it is the only regiment with a white coat and it has a nice easily recognisable flag. The second is that it has a very similar uniform to that of the cuirassiers, especially from the back, so if the need arises I can probably get away with designating it as a 'cuirassier stand in'. It's another multi-purpose unit.

 Three units of cuirassier. CR 8 Palffy, CR 12 Serbelloni and CR 25 Anhalt - Zerbst.

I did CR 8 Palffy, because it has a nice flag, an imperial eagle on one side and a simple to do crest, possibly representing a stag 'rampant' and a wheel.

HR 2 Kaiser. A rather nice, simple combination of colours. Front Rank hussars are ever so nice to paint. I suppose it is the lace that puts a lot of people off painting them but I think they are some of the prettiest troops on a SYW battlefield so well worth any extra effort.

HR 11 Nadasdy. I'm never sure about troops wearing green but these turned out rather well. The riderless horse is not a mistake on my part. I bought two 'unit packs' of twelve hussars each from Front Rank, each pack was delivered short of its standard bearer. I thought about giving Alec a ring (you always get great customer service from Alec and Elaine) but then thought that when they came I'd not only have to paint the figures but also two more flags, and unlike other cavalry in this range the hussar horses come with shabraques, making the horses ideal 'casualty' figures, so I demurred. The effect is, I think, rather pleasing.

Lastly, HR 32 Szechenyi. Another stunning combination of colours.

So that's it. Job done, the Austrians are finished. Next post, in a few hours time, will be an Austrian Army ROLL CALL!!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Herr Schmied's house and smithy

A blacksmith's is another of those iconic war game buildings that I have somehow neglected until now. A smithy is easier to represent than most industrial buildings because it can be made with an open frontage to show the forge and an anvil. 

 Except for the inside of the smithy, this town section is a fairly basic construction. It is made in the same way as my other recently constructed buildings. The base and walls are MDF, the chimneys, brick work and timber framing and gate are balsa wood, the roofs are card. The windows and doors are by War Bases and the yard walls are railway accessories. 

Because this town section has two buildings it has two identifiable yards, one behind the house, the other in front of the smithy, each capable of holding a unit (four 45mm square bases) of troops but, because the overall base is only  8" x 9", it could easily be declared as a large one section piece.

Inside the smithy is the forge (with bellows), an anvil, a quenching barrel and a work bench. The forge has cat litter coals and a card cowl (out of shot but there). The anvil was made from a plastic matchstick from an old children's game set I ransacked years ago for tiddlywinks and other bits and pieces - I always knew those plastic match sticks would come in useful one day - mounted on a balsa wood block. 

So, now I have fourteen town sections for horse and musket battles set in northern Europe. Except for another church, I think I have enough for now. I certainly have enough for the Lobositz game at Derby later this year, which only needed nine.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Lobositz - first fix for Derby.

This week I've spent a little time working out a possible set up for Lobositz 1756 for the Derby World Wargames show later this year. Whilst doing so I wondered if people would be surprised at how I actually go about this because my methodology is actually rather adhoc and unscientific.

No matter how hard I try I never seem to be able to effectively do a layout using pen and paper. Whenever I try to do it things never quite transpose to the table properly. I find it much easier to do a layout directly onto the table then, if necessary, draw it afterwards. 

Stage one is to choose a historically based deployment map and OOB, in this case I drew on the information from three sources (1) mixing and matching at my whim.  

Then I layed out the troops using paper templates held in position by a 'paper weight' stand of the appropriate troop type. This effectively gives a ground scale based on unit frontage.

After laying out the troops in their starting positions I lay the terrain around them. 

I've always found this way of doing things far better than doing it the other way around because terrain can be made to fit troop frontages but, being fixed by base sizes, troops can't always be made to fit the terrain: It's ground scale by war game unit frontage.

In this shot you can see I've used, thin chain to roughly mark some of the contours. I've laid out the other terrain in some detail so that I can be sure what I have and what I might need - for example, I'm going to need to make at least another eight feet of vines for the walled vineyards on the Lobosch.

Leaving the chain on the table for sizing purposes and removing everything else, I then see what I can do about the hills. The hills for Lobositz are quite large features and they required me to cut some new pieces. 

This requirement actually led me to discover that the pink insulation board I have is the same thickness as the blue - I've always believed it was thinner - result! 

The Homolka required a few new end pieces and some 'square' filler sections to make the hills bigger than those I usually use.

The Lobosch is a volcanic mound with a classic volcano cone. Fortunately this cone was not fought over and the action took place on its much less steep lower slopes.

I made the first two contours with pre-existing shapes and some new 'square' fillers. I've subsequently made two new sloped pieces that are not shown in this photo.

  1. One to  replace the front slope of the second contour squaring it to the table edge and giving it an extended straight front slope.
  2. A new piece to replace the back left section of the first contour, squaring it to the table edge.

I've used a piece of 2" thick board to do the lower slopes of the cone making the Lobosch 5" high at its highest point.
After the hills shapes were made I relaid the cloth over the top and set everything else out properly. 

I'm short just three units of cavalry (which I have unpainted in the lead pile) and possibly two Prussian howitzers (which I may, or may not, buy) to replace gun models. For the purposes of the photographs I've substituted other units.

I think it looks pretty good.

The Prussian army deployed on the Homolka. 

The windmill is Wchinitz.

A strange fact came to light as I laid out the troops. I have twenty four units of Prussian infantry but not one of them actually fought at Lobositz. I'm not sure how that could have happened.
Bevern's infantry facing Austrian Grenzers on the Lobosch. 

This shot shows the new shape of the Lobosch (under the front rank Grenzers). The second new hill piece merely tidies up the cloth at the table edge.

Massed Prussian cavalry and guns between the Lobosch and Homolka.
Lobositz, featuring a partly finished building. This is Herr Schmied's house and smithy. I'll post some pictures of this building when it's finished as it has some nice details that you can't see in this shot.

You can just see Austrian infantry passing out of the town in column of route towards the right flank to support the defence of the Lobosch and, just behind them, the dark bend of the Elbe.

Between Lobositz and the bulk of the Austrian army behind the Morellenbach stream is a sunken road. I'm currently making a new piece of terrain to represent this.
The bulk of the Austrian army deployed in Sullowitz and beyond the Morellenbach.

Having set it up, of course, means we might as well fight it. be continued.

(1) Deployment maps and OOBs were from Duffy's The Army of Frederick the Great, the official German High Command map from Kronoskaf Seven Years War Project, and Jeff Berry's excellent map on his Obscure Battles site.

Paltzig continued

This is a very short post is an AAR of the second night's play (fought on 30th March) of the Paltzig 1759 scenario. We left the action with the Prussians exceeding all expectations and pressing their attack on the southern flank of the Russian army but with the Russians still massively outnumbering the Prussians and forming a new line just south of Paltzig. The game was in the balance.

I have to report an unbelievable reversal of history. Peter (Prussian) just couldn't stop winning initiative and rolling high combat dice. The Russians couldn't manage a single noteworthy volley. 

The Prussians pressed home their attack with unerring precision from the start. It wasn't long before the Russian position began to collapse with their troops retreating to the rear areas in a constant stream. At the end of the battle the Prussians had somehow managed superior numbers, not just locally, but overall. 

The position at the end of the game. The Prussian line is intact and rolling the Russians up. 

At the end of the battle, the lost unit count said it all: Including four units of Cossacks (three of which were voluntarily withdrawn off table) the Russians lost twenty seven units, the Prussians had lost just three and most of their 'heroic' units were completely intact. 

Major morale failure was inevitable for the Russians and so we finished the game before working through to it - the Russians, who started with sixty four morale chips had none left and the Prussians, who started with just thirty six, still had sixteen.

If we replayed this game a hundred times I don't think the Prussians could do better. I still can't quite get over the enormity of the Prussian victory. Reversing history in such a lop sided battle is one thing, but to do it like this is simply astounding: A very, very memorable result!