Thursday 30 June 2016

Bohemian Blitzkrieg: Turn 3, Prussian move phase.

Prussian moves carried out were as follows:

Bevern at Zittau with 25 SP moves to Lobau, then Rumburg and onto Gabel.
Schwerin at Staudenz with 42 SP moves moves to Koniggratz, then Chlum then Horitz.
Frederick at Linay with his remaining 38SP moves to Leitmeritz

The Prussian moves. There are two potential contacts - at Horitz and Gabel.

Bohemian Blitzkrieg: The Battle of Aussig. End Game.

So, last night the guys came around to my place to finish playing the first battle of our Bohemian Blitzkrieg campaign. The game cracked along at a fair old pace with twists and turns a plenty. It was without doubt, the best game I've umpired in some time: this is how it unfolded.

The Prussians finally manage to occupy the forward buildings in the village. 

The newly occupying unit, a Garrison regiment, was immediately confronted with a hail of lead from the Austrian grenadiers waiting on the outskirts - the Garrison troops somehow managed to withstand the punishment but these were probably not the best troops to hold such a vital position. They would be evicted soon afterwards at the point of the bayonet.

On the Prussian right (south of the stream) the Prussian cavalry stood waiting patiently for any Austrian advances in this sector. 

However, the action was elsewhere.
On the plateau north of the village the infantry blasted away at each other with seemingly endless volleys of musketry amidst very heavy squally showers of rain which made powder wet and misfires commonplace (heavy rain is the only logical explanation for such lousy shooting dice - I've never seen so many 1s).
When the day eventually dried up it was the Austrians who felt the brunt of dry powder. The Prussians made four Austrian regiments run in short order.
Although the Austrian infantry line is beginning to crumble the Prussian infantry line is facing a new threat. 

The Austrian cavalry has worked its way onto the the Prussian's open, northern flank.
In the nick of time the Prussian infantry, now clear of immediate threat to its front, manages to back-step and form a large open backed box before the Austrian cavalry can organise its attack.

Anyone who has played Piquet will know how tense these situations can be. With neither side knowing exactly how much initiative it will get to do stuff, or what order its action cards will be revealed, it is never easy to say which side will get its act together first.

Even having stabilised it's norther sector, events on the southern sector are now going badly for the Prussians.

The Austrians are advancing to push the Prussian cavalry from the field and, devastatingly, have established two strong batteries on the south bank of the stream which are able to bombard the Prussian infantry on the plateau with impunity.
The Austrian bombardment begins and the Prussians begin to real from it. 

The Battle is effectively over. 

The Prussians, who started the battle with a bad Army Characterisation Card draw (25 morale) have run out of morale chips and the Austrians (who started with 45) are now able to dictate everything. 

A final large swing of initiative to the Austrians forces the Prussians to concede defeat and withdraw, pursued by the Austrian cavalry.
Rule note: Because we are using Piquet we have had to change how battlefield casualties effect campaign army Strength Points (SP). We have decided to do this by keeping track of every Unit Integrity (UI) point inflicted by each side during the game. The result is divided by 6, rounding down, to give the number of SP inflicted. 

The Prussians have inflicted 28 UI loss on the enemy during the battle and the Austrians have inflicted 34. Therefore, the Austrians lose 4 SP and the Prussians lose 5 SP.

Rule note: Having written a rule (that worked for Piquet run battles) for casualties caused by post battle cavalry pursuit (called Pursuit Fire in Age of Reason), and within minutes of the battle ending, we threw it out of the window and, within a couple more minutes, came up with something far more elegant: The winner decides if he will pursue. If he pursues both sides add up the number of available cavalry units (not shaken, routed, or blown) counting hussars as double. To the result each side adds the initiative value of its commanding general. The result is the pursuit / rearguard points total of each side. For each point one D6 is rolled. Each side counts the number of '6s' rolled; one side's result is deducted from the other; the difference is the number of SPs inflicted on the player with the lower result. (Last night I ruled that only the pursuer would be able to cause casualties but this morning, having slept on it, I see no reason why this should be the case. With the addition of "The winner decides if he will pursue." that ruling is made null and void - pursue at your own risk!)

The Austrians choose to pursue. They have eight cavalry units, two of which are hussars for a sub total of 10. Lorraine adds his initiative value 2. The Austrians roll twelve D6 and get two 6s.

The Prussians have three cavalry units for a sub total of 3. Moritz is initiative 3, for a total of six D6 on which they roll no 6s.

The Austrians inflict 2 SPs in the pursuit. Total losses for the battle: Prussian 7 (29%); Austrian 4 (11%). Having some knowledge of casualties caused in battle during the SYW, that looks about right to me. I hope this isn't a fluke.

The Prussians withdraw to Nollendorf.

 The positions after the Battle of Aussig.
The command, SP and supply situation after the battle of Aussig.

Thursday 23 June 2016

Bohemian Blitzkrieg: The Battle of Aussig. Deployments and initial moves.

Last night Peter and Graham turned up at the usual time of 8.45pm. We had a brief discussion of the campaign thus far and then got down to dicing for unit qualities, dealing out army characterisation cards and sketching deployment maps.

Peter deployed his Prussians largely in the norther sector of the table with only a cavalry force south of the stream screening his flank.
Graham deployed his Austrians, which outnumber the Prussians 3:2, rather more equally but also with the bulk of his troops north of the stream. 

Graham decided to post a strong cavalry reserve behind his centre. It's funny how a campaign game, with the possibility of post battle pursuit can change the way players think about things.
The Prussians kick things off with a general advance onto the large plateau that dominates most of the table in the northern sector.   

The Prussians score an early success when their heavy battery catches the Austrian heavy battery limbered. It is dispatched; its gunners rally and return to their guns; it is dispatched again.
At the top of the slopes the Prussians stall. The Austrians begin an attack of their own. 

In the top right hand corner of this shot you can see Graham's cavalry is beginning to move towards the northern flank.
South of the stream the Austrians advance infantry and guns and the Prussians begin a move into the open expanses of the southern sector.

The Austrian guns open up and a regiment of Prussian cuirassier is sent packing.
A fierce fire-fight is taking place on the low plateau. 

The Prussians, harassed by effective skirmish fire from Austrian Grenzers have chased them off with some nicely timed bayonet charges.
South of the stream the Prussian cavalry has moved out wide, partly to get away from the Austrian guns.

The Austrian cavalry has moved to cover the flank of their infantry.
 Around the village, the Austrians are launching an assault with their grenadiers. Taking the open village section first might prove decisive - the Prussians have thus far failed to turn the correct card to enter it, even though they have been next to it from the start of the game.

To be continued.......

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Bohemian Blitzkrieg: The Battle of Aussig (Campaign turn 2).

At the end of turn two there is a contact. Lorraine with 37 Strength Points and Moritz with 24 Strength Points are facing each other at Aussig. I will now outline how, for those unfamiliar with the campaign system, the Pre -Battle Manoeuvre process.

At this point I must introduce you to a campaign rule change added to suit my own perversity as an umpire. Before the pre-battle manoeuvre process is begun two D6 are rolled. If the result is an odd double (1s, 3s and 5s) the armies stumble into each other or one army is 'ambushed' and an encounter battle must ensue with neither side having the option to  withdraw. I will call this the 'Blunder Phase'.

Blunder Phase: Dice result 4/4: There is no blunder and both sides are given the option to withdraw. Neither chooses to do so. The fight is on!

Both sides now commence pre-battle manoeuvres. Both commanders roll for initiative:

Lorraine rolls a 1 +2 (campaign initiative rating) +1 (familiar ground) = 4
Moritz rolls a 5 +3 (campaign initiative rating) = 8

Moritz has won the initiative. Six random battlefields are generated (D100 rolls) and Peter (Prussian) must choose three from the following: 27, 41, 50, 86, 89, 90. He chooses 27, 41, 86.

I (umpire) roll a D3 to determine battlefield will be fought on. The result is a 1 so it will be the first battlefield on the list: Battlefield 27.

Peter chooses to deploy on the south side and to fight if pressed. Graham (Lorraine) refuses battle and so the pre-battle manoeuvre sequence moves onto round two.

Both sides roll for initiative again: 

Lorraine rolls a 5 +2 +1 = 8
Prussia rolls a 3 +3 +1 (won last round) = 7

Graham wins the second round roll:

Graham has the choice of the following randomly generated battlefields: 13, 16, 38, 40, 57, 96. Graham chooses 16, 57, 96. I roll a D3 and roll a 2 for battlefield 57. 

Graham chooses to deploy on the eastern side of the field and to fight if pressed. Peter chooses to fight. Battle is joined!

This is an image of battlefield 57 as published in Campaigns And Battles From the Age Of Reason by Todd Kershner and Dale Wood and reproduced here with Todd's kind permission.

I'm a massive fan of the system used to generate battlefields in this rule set. Cross referencing the number rolled on D100 to the correct page of maps indicates which battlefield should be used - the number is on the centre line and the battlefield is the squares to either side of the number.

In the book, each square is 6cm by 6cm which makes laying out the terrain on my table (12 x 6) very easy indeed, up to a point.

Rule note: The players have been told that the maps only give an impression of the ground. The players will not know its exact nature until they see the ground in the flesh on game night.

Due to the constraints of the terrain I possess I can only go so far in my representation of any of the maps, though some will be easier than others. For this battle I was able to do the hills, stream and villages with reasonable accuracy but I was a little short of road. If we were playing Age of Reason rules to fight the battles this would be something of a problem as road exit points and junctions are important objectives in that set of rules. As we are using amended Piquet, they are not so important so a fudge here shouldn't effect the game.


Prussian: Moritz with 24 Strength Points.

2 regiments of cuirassier.
2 regiments of dragoons.

2 combined grenadier units (representing 4 battalions).
6 regiments of musketeers (representing 12 battalions).
1 regiment of fusiliers (representing 2 battalions).
1 regiment of garrison troops (representing 2 battalions).

1 battery of 2 heavy guns.
1 battery of 1 medium gun.

Austrian: Lorraine with 37 Strength Points.

4 regiments of cuirassier.
2 regiments of dragoons.
2 regiments of hussars.

1 combined grenadier unit (representing 2 battalions).
11 regiments of musketeers (representing 22 battalions).
1 regiment of hungarian musketeeers (representing 2 battalions).
3 battalions of Grenzers.

1 battery of 2 heavy guns.
2 batteries of 2 medium guns.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Bohemian Blitzkrieg. Austrian phase, Turn 2.

Austrian move phase, turn 2 moves:

Arenberg arrives at Welwarn then to Budin
Macquire to Rumburg and then back to Gabel 

Note: Macquire has raided the Prussian supply route at Rumburg and Frederick has been put out of supply (red pin).

Bohemian Blitzkrieg. Prussian phase, turn 2

Prussian move phase, turn 2 moves:

Frederick, from Rumburg, with 39SP to Konigstein, Karbitz, Linay
Schwerin, from Arnau, with 42 SP to Koniginhof, Soor, Staudenz
Moritz, newly arriving at Komatau, with 24 SP to Aussig
Prince Henry, from Nullendorf, with 10 SP to Pirna, Dresden, Balsewitz

Bohemian Blitzkrieg. Austrian phase, turn 1.

The Austrian move phase, turn 1 moves:

Browne from Budin to Lobositz then Aussig
Konigseck from Reichenber to Liebenau then Hirschberg
Serbelloni from Koniggratz to Chlum then Horitz

There were no changes to the campaign roster sheet.

Bohemian Blitzkrieg Campaign: Prussian phase, turn 1.

Prussian orders are in and have been acted on.

Prince Henry, from Dresden, with 10 SP to Prina then Nollendorf
Frederick, from Dresden, with39 SP to Balsewitz, Schluckenau, Rumburg
Schwerin, from Ladeshut, with 42SP to Treutenau, Koniginhof, Arnau
Bevern stays in Zittau

Thursday 16 June 2016

Bohemian Blitzkrieg Campaign. The set up.

(EDIT: Please ignore the previous version of this post. Due to something equating to a complete cock-up, we will restart the campaign from scratch).

We are about to start our Bohemian Blitzkrieg campaign. This campaign is the campaign that features in Campaigns and Battles From The Age of Reason by Tod Kershner and Dale Wood. It is with Tod's kind permission that I am able to post images of the map and, in writing up the campaign as it unfolds, some of the scenario notes and rule stuff.  

"In the April of 1757 Frederick of Prussia’s second great campaign of the Seven Years War began as four massive columns of dark blue troops entered the Austrian-held province of Bohemia from the strategic heartlands of Silesia and Saxony.

In a lightening movement, the Prussians concentrated at Prague and fought one of the bloodiest battles of the war that ended in a costly victory for Frederick. Prussian losses were slightly higher than the Austrians and the irreplaceable general Schwerin was killed by a blast of cannister. The Austrians payed dearly, as well, with the loss of von Browne, hero of Lobositz, also mortally wounded leading a bayonet charge.

In June the Prussians fought again, but this time their opponent was Marshal Daun and a vastly superior army at Kolin. The ‘Great King’ launched a doomed frontal attack on the white-coats’ strong position and was decisively defeated in a blood-soaked and demoralising repulse.

Through June and July the Prussians lingered in Bohemia but the initiative had passed to the Austrians and by August events in north-western Germany compelled Frederick to vacate the province and deal with the growing threat posed by the French and Reichs Army.

Frederick would return and avenge his first major defeat with his crowning masterpiece of Leuthen but that, as they say, is another story……………….."

Where possible we will be fighting the campaign exactly as written but, because we will be doing the map moves by email, and because we will be using our house amended Piquet rules to fight the table-top battles, I have had to make some alterations to the campaign rules so that it will work. Where rule changes have an effect on the way the campaign is played and unfolds I will detail the changes as they are applied.

The Map
The Map is a scanned and enlarged copy of the map as it appears in the book except that I've added some colour coding. Pink dots are rough terrain. Names highlighted in yellow are supply base dots.

Blue map pins are Prussian, yellow ones are Austrian. The larger map pins show the name of the force commander, the commanders rank (top) and initiative rating (bottom). The small pins the last side to occupy /pass through the dot and indicate 'possession': in effect they show possible routes of supply.

The Starting Positions
Graham: Austrian
Browne at Budin with 37 SPs.
Konigseck at Reichenberg with 19 SPs.
Macquire at Gabel with 13 SPs.
Serbelloni at Koniggratz with 34 SPs.

Starting VPs - 59
Peter: Prussian
Frederick at Dresden with 49 SPs.
Bevern at Zittau with 25 SPs.
Schwerin at Landshut with 42 SPs.

Starting VPs - 14

The Campaign Roster Sheets 
To save on paperwork, and to keep everything in one place and organised, we will use my usual army campaign roster sheets.

RULE NOTE: In the campaign rules it says that players should choose each commander they wish to activate in turn, roll to see if he does, move him, then move onto the next commander. We are playing the map moves by email so, to speed play, each player will be sending orders for all commanders at the same time and I, as umpire, will roll to see if they activate, move them as ordered, and then report successful movements to both players. 

So that neither player is fully aware of the other's strategy I will only detail moves made; I will not detail any commander's failure to activate or any orders he has failed to carry out.

So there it is. Ready to go again. Good luck chaps.

Sunday 12 June 2016

Unit four: British foot artillery battery

After doing three battalions of British infantry I decided to do a battery of foot artillery. 

These chaps are a particularly colourful bunch in a surprisingly complicated uniform - though I guess that might be because it was the first time I've ever painted them - with points of detail that seemed to go on, and on, and on.

The battery comprises two guns and a howitzer based on 60 mm x 60 mm bases each with four crew.

All figures are Front Rank.

All figures were painted by me using enamels.

I have decided to equip each battery with a single limber that can be used to represent the three gun battery when on the move. I haven't finished these with full traces between the draught horses and the limber as I'm not sure they are worth the effort, but I might change my mind.
This particular limber came with an ammunition cart that can be put on the base when it's not towing anything else.

Next up, 1/71st Highland Light Infantry of Howard's Brigade.

Thursday 9 June 2016

First brigade done

Well, I've caved in. I have had so many people asking why I did the first two units with grey trousers that I decided to nip it in the bud, pull two battalions off of their bases and repaint thirty or so pairs of trousers white, mix in the third battalion of KGL and then re-base: Crikey but, I do feel better for it.

I now have my first full brigade done. I say full but, for some purists, it will still be a battalion short (the 7th). My reason is pretty simple: For brigade strength in standard sized battalions I've decided to divide brigade strength by 600 and round up or down to give the number of six stand battalions. This method makes Lowe's KGL a three battalion brigade rather than a four. Occasionally a bigger unit (8 stands) will be required, but not often.

So here it is. My first Peninsular command group. Lowes Brigade of 1st Division.

Three battalions (1st, 2nd, 5th) of the KGL. Each is 24 strong, four figures on six 40 x 40 stands, with four extra skirmishers on two pence pieces. 

I've typically done a one figure stand representing the brigadier (in this case Lowe) on a circular stand.

Divisional commanders will be, in the future, represented by two mounted figures on a stand. 
I've chosen to give each unit an ID tag at the back of one of the central stands. 

I like this because it might make players actually use the name of the battalion rather than saying "that unit".

I'm not sure about the white background. I might change it to something less stark, possibly beige.
Having decided to repaint some trousers and re-base I also decided to consult my sources again as regards figure placement. 

This is actually pretty accurate, especially as regards the central command stands with (left to right) ensign, sergeant, ensign, officer, but I'm less sure about how the drummer's position will be received - back rank and to the side looks odd but is accurate (though his position should be mirrored by another on the other side). Anyway, this will be the format from now on.
Another thing I've decided to do, mostly to keep skirmishers with their parent units in storage, is to make 'brigade trays'. If nothing else, it will make taking figures out of the cabinets easier.

Trays are 4 mm plywood bottoms with 2mm MDF sides - all cut out to size with a Stanley knife and put together with Gorilla wood glue.

Next up, a battery of British foot artillery which I hope to get done this weekend.

Thanks for looking.