Thursday, March 1, 2018

Battle of Hanau 1813 - After Action Report

Last Saturday, Ralph Holoway put on a game of 4th edition Napoleon's Battle at the store. He took several pictures of the game and wrote up a report on how it went. I have re-posted his AAR with his permision below. 

The initial deployments were based off of historical deployments, the Bavarians (Ronald and Daine Oldman) to the north of the Kinzig, with their cavalry and the Raiding Force of Austrian and Cossack cavalry on the far left, and the Austrian corps and cavalry south of the Kinzig Stream.

The French (Jeroen Koopman and Gary Smith) were deployed in the Puppenwald and Lamboi woods initially shielded from Bavarian and Austrian artillery and musket fire.

The action started slowly in Turn 3 with the French infantry moving forward on their right in the Puppenwald and the 2nd Guard Cavalry moving out of the Puppenwald to the open terrain on the French right. The Bavarians began to engage the French in the Puppenwald with their artillery.

The Austrian commander then chose to begin the move of two brigades of his cavalry to the left flank to aid the Bavarian cavalry and the French received the 2nd Light Cavalry Division in the Puppenwald.

As the cavalry battle was joined between the Bavarian light cavalry and the Raiding Force, and the 2nd Guard Cavalry, this seemed less necessary. The allied cavalry soundly repulsed the Guard Cavalry (three consecutive rolls of 1 by the French).

On Turn 3 the French received he 4th light Cavalry Division deploying out of the Puppenwald to aid the French cavalry on the right.

The French infantry on the left flank in the Puppenwald moved to engage and combat the Bavarian left flank infantry vicinity Neuhof Farm on Turn 4. The Bavarians abandoned their guns during the onslaught.

Meanwhile on the French left in the Lamboi Woods, the French infantry had moved forward to engage the Bavarians south of Neuhof Farm. They were fired upon by some Austrian artillery south of the Kinzig Stream as well.

Between 12:30 hrs. and 1330 hrs. the 1st Old Guard Division, the 2nd Old Guard Division and Guard Artillery arrive arrived via road in the Lamboi Woods. The Guard moved forward to engage and combat the Bavarians and Austrians south of the Neuhof Farm.

On the French right, the cavalry battle continues with mixed results for the French. The Bavarian light cavalry is forced to withdraw, but Austrian cavalry arrived to reinforce the flank.

The game ended on Turn 8 or 13:30 hrs. after approximately five hours of play.

Conclusions I drew from the play of the scenario as written:

- Need to start battle later,11:00 hrs. versus 9:00 hrs. This will start that fight earlier in game play and give the French cavalry on the right two more light cavalry divisions for the cavalry fight on the right.

- Also, would probably preclude Austrian cavalry from south of Kinzig Stream affecting that fight. This is more historical in outcome, as the French cavalry threatened the Bavarian infantry after their defeat of the allied cavalry. Also, this would bring the main fight of the Old Guard to clear the north of the Kinzig Stream earlier in play.

- Need to give more depth to the French deployment area in the woods for Imperial Guard deployment.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Neilson House - Saratoga NY 1777

As we have been gaming a lot of Sharp's Practice games of late, I thought I would make a building to use for our future games. I first did a minimal search for "1777" structures and found a pic of a red cabin at the Saratoga National Park, the Neilson House. I liked the design of the house, but was not so sure about the color of it, very red! But alas that seems to be historically accurate and who am I to buck history :)

I sketched out the design on some graph paper using a perry figure for scale ... while I admit it is a little larger than I anticipated, it is not nearly as "large" as these pictures make it out to be; must be the angle of the camera phone. Out came the foam board, balsa wood, rulers and cutting blades.

Most of this was simple measure and cut, but the "cut out" section proved a little harder to do than I thought it was going to be. Fortunately, I had plenty of extra scrapes to fix any of the walls that came up short. I also wanted the roof to come off but had not had much success with my previous buildings. So on this build I tried out a "new" reinforced technique which worked well and I kind of feel dumb not doing this on most of my other buildings. I just cut out foam board and stuck the roof tiles on to it, instead of two end pieces and running the roof tiles across ... doh!

The slat planking for the sides were pretty tedious to do, but do look really good. I cut lots of strips of thin cardboard (such as cereal boxes) then glued then onto each other to form each side of the building. Unfortunately I did not actually have a cereal box and started to run out as the box I used was pretty small! So I ended up combining several shorter pieces to finish every side. That said, I actually really like the look of this, as no two boards are actually the same. IMO this gives a much more realistic look than the "perfect" laser cut mdf buildings.

For the windows I started out like I normally do, gluing cut strips of balsa wood to a piece of graph paper to line them up, then glue it the side of the building (and spackle around it) ... in this case I had to cut out a section of the plank siding to get in order to fit in the window. This was not working out very well, so I decided to measure and cut the windows on the siding first, then glue the siding to the wall, and then use the cut out to "measure" the balsa wood pieces for the frame to fit inside for each window. I really should go back and add in shutters but was getting anxious to finish, so skipped them. I can always add them in at a later date anyways.

I wanted to roof to look different than the siding so made the "tiles" a little longer. Then I took a pen and drew in the "individual" tiles. Cut up the bottom of and generally scuffed each layer before gluing it down. I also paid special attention to the front porch overhang and the removable roof, as I wanted to have fairly seamless line when the roof is on. I was mostly done with the roof, when I realized I had not put on the chimney! So I just added a couple of layers of foam board and glued it straight onto the roof tile ... by far the worst looking chimney I have done and plan to redo it in the near future.

Now onto painting ... first up I wanted to try and "stiffen" up the building, so as seen on Youtube, I mixed some Mod Podge, brown paint and water; then painted the mix onto the building as a primer, as well as stiffening the build. This worked pretty well, though I need to get better at mixing the concoction, as the colored "primer" was really thin.

I next broke out the Iwata airbrush and loaded it up with some Vallejo Fire Red to paint the sides of the building. I then added some a sand color to the red and airbrushed some faded areas on it. To my surprise the red actually turned out pretty good! I next used a grey blue and sprayed the roof, but used a large brush to dry brush the edges and picking out individual tiles. I also painted the windows and the porch, though the worn wood look I was going for, did not come out like I wanted. To "fix" it, I applied some wash to it ... and was still not happy with it, so may line each plank to make them standout a little better.

For the most part I am calling this house done, it is very game usable right now and I can get to the other little things at any time. I have come across some close up views of the house and now realize that it sits atop a layer of stone ... sigh :) When I am really feeling like it, I will cut out a thin base of blue board and outline a stone base for it. Because of this I am not going to base the building right now and just use it without a floor.

Monday, February 12, 2018

1944 Eastern Front - Chain of Command

This last Saturday, a friend of mine showed up at the store with some time to kill. So I decided on a pick up game of Chain of Command.

Even though Tim had never played CoC, let alone any type of WW2 skirmish game and I had only played once several years ago, I was keen on throwing together a game. Mainly because I had recently reread the rules and had moderated over a half dozen games in the last couple of months as CoC is getting very popular at the store these days.

I pulled out my Russians (Tim) and Germans (John) and made up a simple force for both sides, both being Regular Rifle Platoons with a tank as support (Sherman 76mm for the Russians and Pz IV H for the Germans).

We rolled up our force morale (Germans 10 and Russians 9) and the scenario (Attack & Defend), then started the Patrol phase with the Germans attacking and making several free patrol moves (four in this case).

I essentially only had two usable deployment points, one located in the woods (center) and the other in a field (far left). My tank would arrive at the road.

Tim would have one in the ruined building, one in a field on his left and a final one at the board edge on his right (covered by the woods). Of course his tank would also arrive at the road as well.

For the Germans I had also brought a preliminary bombardment to start off the battle. I was hoping to deploy a squad or two in the woods and field, so as to get a jump on moving forward before the Russians could. As it happened, the Russians always have a heavy preliminary bombardment and between the two bombardments, neither one of us were able to successfully deploy any troops on the first turn!

Over the next few turns I was able to get a squad into the woods in the center and the tall crop field on my left. Tim was able to get a squad Russians upto the fence next to the ruined building, which pretty much covered the whole center area.

Once my squad moved to the edge of the woods, we began to exchange fire with the Russians behind the fence. And for pretty much for the rest of the battle, both squads exchange fire, though at one point tried to assault the Russian position and succeeded in only moving out into the open! After the M4 Sherman tank arrived, Tim brought on his senior leader to bolster this squad and this kept them in the fire fight. I also was able to bring my Pz IV tank on the phase after the Russian tank arrived. We both moved up the road, then both tanks stopped to exchange gunfire.

Well that was what we thought was going to happen, in fact I had the first shot, scored a hit, five hits got through and rolled a six for the effect ... blew the Sherman to smithereens! Not very enjoyable for either side, so I just told him to put a couple of points of shock on it and then moved the Pz IV towards a large field on my right.

On my left I had deployed a squad, that was able to move its rifle section to the edge of a small woods before any Russians were deployed in the area. I decided to leave the LMG team behind so as to provide covering fire. It was looking like I was going to easily get my riflemen into the woods before any Russians showed up... Then Tim rolled a double phase, a single phase for me, and another double phase for Tim. Needless to say Tim rushed a squad all the way into the edge of the woods and blasted my riflemen still located in the open. What was left of my rifle team (and the Panzerschreck team that unwisely showed up in the middle of this) fled back to the tall crop field!

I too deployed my senior leader into firefight going on in the center. He was able to stabilize the situation (and my hot dice). So we then turned to Tim's left flank, where he had finally deployed his last Russian squad to deal with my Pz IV ... of course we soon realized that infantry cannot attack tanks with regular grenades, they need to have a special AT "grenade", such as the satchel charge that I talked Tim out of taking! I was going to let him have one, but events elsewhere took up our attention.

I had finally looked up the stats of the Panzerschreck and found out it has a max range of 48"! So even though the team (single guy actually) had a point of shock, I moved him out in the open to take an obstructed pop shot at the Sherman 32" away ... and proceeded to roll an 11 which is what I needed to get a hit. I then rolled the impressive thirteen armour penetration dice, which turned into six hits to the front. Of course Tim rolled no saves for this tank and it once again was brewed up :)

We called the game at this point (it was getting late), the Russians had seen their morale drop to five while the German morale was at eight. So a minor German victory, though reading the rules again that night, I of course found several rule mistakes made, most of which advantaged the German side.

I really like CoC, enough so that I am thinking about painting up a new platoon for the game (perhaps British Para's). I'll still play Battlegroup as it lets you play with larger forces, but pretty sure wont be playing Bolt Action anymore.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Battle of Hoosick Falls 1777

Thanks to Wil for writing up the text and taking the pictures. He is tracking how his command does in the Sharps Practice campaign we are running at the store in the form of a journal letter from Lieutenant Reginald Daltrey of the 24th Regiment of Foot to his sweetheart in England.

Battle of Hoosick Falls, New York August 11, 1777

Dear Lady Chatterly,

Dr. Nixon
The fortunes of war are fickle, as our folly today proved justly so.  I write this while recuperating under the ministrations of Dr. Nixon, who has been so good to accompany us in the field and assist our regimental surgeon.  He assures me a quick recovery so that I may rejoin my soldiers, as with the fall of Major Grant at Hubbarton, our officership is a precious commodity to be shuffled as needed.

Speaking of, I have now been made field captain of the whole Light Company of the 24th (Ldr 2, with three groups of regulars), with Ensign Townshend (Ldr 2, with 2 groups of skirmishers) as my capable subaltern, and the experienced Sergeant Entwistle (Ldr 1) transferring from the grenadiers to  assist me.
Our company in it's current assignment has been joined by a large party of Mohawks (2 groups of Indian Allies) led by a liaison officer of the 9th, Lieutenant Moon (Ldr 2, a "Kurtz" guy), or "Moondrummer" as he is has introduced himself. By his non-regulation adornment, he looks to have spent much time among the savages... perhaps too much.
Primary Deployment Point diorama

They have brought news of the Oriskany battle and remain among the most vengeance-thirsty among the tribes to have then travelled east seeking common cause of us. A half-bred, most likely the camp wife of Moon, and a mangy dog follow them everywhere.
On our rotation to the baggage train for munitions resupply, I ran into my father's friend, Angus MacLewlis, an aging codger who recruited for the recently founded 84th Regiment of Scottish Emigrants in Montreal.  His small detachment, bedecked in new highlander finery, had been assigned to guard the artillery park, but he kept insisting that I talk to my command and allow 10 of his men (1 group of loyalist militia, I really wanted just some ne'er-do-well frontier types, but these were the only figs at hand) to join our Advanced Corps " that they get a thorough bloodying!" in his words, " earn their plot of land."  And that is where the afternoon's mishap begins.

On the approach to Bennington, our company has led the screening of the main column eastwards for the past days.  Major Potter only had sent a few dragoons further beyond us to mark a road, and ordered us to form line facing south.  Just as we had begun to anchor the left wing, we heard the first reports of muskets to our southwest, battle had been joined.

We deployed behind a hedge in a plowed field with the militia attaching on the right and Townshend's skirmish screen watching the front.  A group with Sergeant Entwistle were returning from scouting a gully further out between us and the 20th Lancaster.  Then we saw the column of
Massachusetts regulars approach with a field piece from behind a barn.  Meanwhile, Moon's war party behind us awaited the signal of their scouts.  All went fairly well, but the skirmishers began to take a few hits from riflemen appearing on the barn's right and began to fall back behind us.

A cannonball gave my left squad a shake as one of them fell,  but our position was still stronger than the approaching bluecoats and their second ball was less effective. With the cannonade and rifles worrying them, the highlander's excitement and lack of drill got the better of them and they did not await my order to present. Our whole line commenced firing at will onto the enemy's field piece and bluecoats to some effect, though I yelled above the din twice to stop the firing.  Their column then deployed in line facing us at just over close range, blocking any further fire from their cannon. 

Our superior cover should lead to besting them, and I saw Moon's party rush the woods to protect our left as new groups of militia appeared and attempted to rush that flank.
However, things went badly at this point. The Mohawks let out furious war whoops and ambuscaded towards their scouts, but the rain-soaked ground slowed the Indians enough so that they could not see the approaching enemy through the woods.  At least, our left was covered as the Mohegan began to shoot from behind the trees, sending a party of militia running back to their own lines.

Just then, on my right, one of the damned highlanders drew his heirloom claymore and pointed forward!  ("Charge them to Hell!" result) The clamor and smoke confused my whole line enough to think I had ordered a general charge, over the hedge!! (lose lowest move dice)

On that, the Continentals loosed deadly fire at just close range and many of us fell as we stumbled across the brambles. As I went to the front to prevent a disastrous charge, a ball struck my shoulder.  Corporal Chaucer pulled me back over the hedge. Though the doctor rushed to aid me, I waved him off and began urging the shattered remains of my line to retreat at quickpace.  We fell back just as Entwistle's six returned and joined the other skirmishers in time to cover our backs. Dusk, by then, had settled in and the noise further down the battlefield had subsided to an occasional musket crack.

I heard that Lieutenant Moon was also hit and had to retire his natives, leading me to believe in the rumors of ungentlemanly conduct among the sharpshooters of the enemy.  The diligent Quaker doctor and the half-French Indian worked busily through the next hours, keeping two out of four of my men alive, while one Mohegan would be mourned by their number.  And I remain alive to fight again, and eventually to return to you.   Although discretion is the better of valor, I am still stung that my debut of command allowed the rebels to almost turn our left flank.  I question my decision to take on MacLewles's men, who will need much more drill and less highland battle cries to match the discipline of a true British redcoat.  Though a stray claymore be drawn in the heat of battle , I pray that my own won't get fooled again.

Yours Always,
Lieutenant Daltrey
24th Regiment of Foot

Friday, November 10, 2017

Napoleonic Buildings - Plancenoit, Part Three

Finished! Well as done as I going to get them at this point :)
Northern Plancenoit - five BUA's sectors.
I won't be doing as many walls and hedges as planned, as the area to fit the troops in is already small and I don't necessarily need an entirely walled village. Fields and brush will be placed around the perimeter to break up the lines created by the built up areas.

Overall the village came out pretty well; though the "whole" looks a lot better than the individual buildings. But for what it is going to be used for, it is well past good enough!
The hedge at the end can be removed for another road opening.
Each BUA area is roughly a 9" square and I spray painted the road, dirt and grass areas on to a piece of felt. I'll most likely reverse the felt and spray a different pattern so that we can vary the village.
Time was the issue, so no door on the "city" gate. I can easily also one in at any point.
But thought the village needed a restricted entry/exit as well as an end cap. 

At the last minute I changed one of my buildings to a small church and went 'fancy' by adding color printouts to represent stained glass. It came out alright, but I think I need to figure out how to add a window frame.
The walled church area can be used for a particular difficult area to fight over.

When using the plastic stone facings, I need to be more precise with the cuts and do a better job of hiding the joins.

Need to frame that stained glass!
Most of the other buildings went as planned, though did add an inner gatehouse at the last minute.
Hard to see, but the Inner Gate is directly in the back.
As with all my projects, there are a things I would do differently. First and foremost is to make many of the buildings taller to give them illusion of being a 28mm building. As it is, several of the buildings would work well in a 15mm game :)
Some of the buildings are very small, the worst offender is seen above in the center.
I also used a homemade wash (really just gloried dirty water!), and not sure I like the look. Though I am warming up to it the more I put other terrain on the table. I suppose I should also do a better job of mixing the "ingredients" and perhaps add more brown to it to warm up the color some.
The wash used for the wall and buildings was different ... I tried to dry brush the walls to better match the buildings
The stone wall was much easier to do up than I thought, but next time I will spend more time blending the top and sides together. Kind of expensive using all that plastic, but thought I needed one BUA sector that could represent a fortified area. I had plans to do a wrought iron gate, but just felt it was not worth the time at this point, and I can always add it in later.
The gap is noticeable on the right side wall.
I watched a video by a "railroad guy" on how to do up hedges, and so set out to copy him. Turned out to be a very quick and easy way to turn those blue scrubbing pads into trimmed hedges! I am also thinking about making a gate section as well. Right now they are all unbased which means I'd need to sink the connecting popsicle stick into the bottom of the hedge, very doable just hard on the scissors :)
First layer drying ... then the bright stuff will be added.

Hedges complete, some bright green to make them pop on the gaming table.

The hedges are about 1" high and fit well with the 28mm figures.

I had issues with the new spackling I used. It seems that I was not paying attention and bought a different brand. Many of the buildings sides were much "smoother" than planned. It was also 'wetter' and so may not add as much water and paint next time.
The spackling turned out much smoother so I might add some sand next time.
I got tricky with the last BUA wall section. Instead of two corner sections I combined them with a small strip of cardstock. Pretty flimsy but the building notch in really well.
Notched out a section to fit the back building in between two wall sections.

Again think the village will work very well for our General d'Armee games, and we should have enough BUA's for most games were running now.

Back to miniatures for next project ... another unit of Russian Infantry in greatcoats.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Napoleonic Buildings - Plancenoit, Part Two

While waiting for the next unit of Russian Infantry in Greatcoats to show up, I thought I scratch out a few more buildings for the Plancenoit Village, well really for any Napoleonic game.

I thought it best to sketch out the town layout including walls/hedges, trees and the cobblestone road. I settled on five sections laid out in a cross pattern. Once I had a rough idea, I started on the nine remaining buildings.

 I roughed out all the buildings like this one before going onto the windows, doors and roof.

Once I have all the buildings to this stage, I'll get out my spackle for the sides of the building and to cover up any mistakes.

 Almost done with all the buildings, I start getting "crafty" at this point to make each building unique. I'll do more walls as well and then start on a few simple hedges.

It kind of gets messy but I like to wait before tossing the scraps, as I almost always need some of it to fix mistakes.

I keep a base on hand to test the height's and make sure they do not dwarf my "tall" 20mm buildings.

Here is an example of a "crafty" building, I was just going to have a short and tall rowhouse building next to each other. Then decided to turn it into a gate house next to a building. I have only attached it to the smaller building as I think I can also use it next to a wall section for a gate. This way I can have it face to the outside or the inside of the village/town.

I'll update the status of the project once I start spackling the buildings.