Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Battle of Tarentum II

This was a busy weekend for me as far as wargaming goes. Friday we had our bi-annual club business meeting, Sunday I hosted the Napoleonic campaign game from my previous post, and Saturday I visited my friend Mike's home to play this game. This is a mid-battle photo of the third game in our ancients campaign, the Second Battle of Tarentum. After the first battle of Tarentum, the defeated and outnumbered Romans retreated north to the safety of an approaching veteran legion. Once the two legions joined up they counter-marched back to Tarentum to meet Hannibal on Roman terms. On paper, this looked to be a very one-sided fight, but the Carthaginians have fought valiantly, particularly their lights, who have destroyed several battle groups Velites single handedly. Both armies still have a lot of fight left in them.  Here's a summary of the current situation from the other Roman player, Mike,

On the Carthaginian side Randy, Charlie and Leo played a great game - although outnumbered, they gave as good as they got.
On the first turn the Roman flank march on the Roman left/Carthaginian right came on. The remnants are fighting for their lives hoping to be saved by the velites, cavalry and extrodinarii coming to their rescue. On that flank the Cartho's lost their all of their cavalry and a Spanish BG. On the Roman right/Carthaginian left the Numidian remnants are being forced off the field. The Carthaginian spear line were the heroes this day. They've destroyed several Roman BG's while only one of theirs is broken - but still on the field. The Spanish have also shown their mettle in the woods and fields of this battleground.
Now Hannibal needs to decide whether to fight on or fade away. His spear line is holding strong but taking pressure from the right. The Roman flank march was destroyed but in the process the Carthaginian right flank is in jeopardy. The Numidian allies are on the run.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Battle of Muttenz - Part I

We got together on Sunday to fight the first battle in my Napoleonic campaign, the Battle of Muttenz. The battle opened up at 1pm campaign time, with the Austrian army positioned in a defensive position around the village of Muttenz (left side of this photo). Three corps of the French 2nd wing (right side of the photo), commanded by general Rousse, commenced their assault of the town after taking the morning to march to the battlefield and deploy. In the photo you can also see Charlie G. (Napoleon) surveying the battlefield.  From their deployment it was clear that the French intended to attack Muttenz either by driving through or flanking around the large woods to the west of Muttenz.

Here Bob O. (Allied CinC and Austrian commander) deploys his cavalry in response to the French advance west of Muttenz. Allied Aide-de-Camp Mike C., to Bob's left, commands two corps of the Austrians closer to Muttenz and is advancing through some standing crops north of town, trampling them down. Opposite of Muttenz, French Aide-de-Camp Dave B. (out of frame) advances cautiously, preferring to allow the standing crops south of Muttenz to conceal his approach.

Day 1, 15:00 - Napoleon enters the battlefield from the southwest. His column is greeted by a single division of Austrian cavalry that attempt to delay his approach by forcing his column to deploy. Is that the imperial guard with him? In the center the French continue to deploy opposite Muttenz behind the screen of standing crops.

Day 1, 15:30 - General Blutcher arrives from the Northern road. At the head of his column, the Prussian guard!

Day 1, 17:00 - The French have completed their flanking maneuver and deploy a stationary battle line as the Prussians march their arriving troops away towards the eastern portion of the battlefield to meet Napoleon's arriving force. Prussian and Austrian cavalry monitor the French battle line from a safe distance.  In the center the French stay put behind the standing crops while Napoleon continues to march more troops onto the battlefield from the southeast.

Day 1, 18:00 - darkness falls and the French re-deploy within their battle lines (marked in dark cord) under the cover of darkness. The French withdraw their flanking force to a position behind the west woods. In the distance, you can just make out Napoleon getting the last of his arriving troops deployed within his own battle lines. In this photo you can see French ADC, Dave B. redeploying his command.

The allied nighttime redeployment included the arrival of the last of the Prussian reinforcements as well as a continued shift east towards Napoleon's approaching reinforcements. North of the west woods, the Prussians deploy a corps of infantry with Austrian and Prussian cavalry protecting their eastern flank. In this photo you can see Allied ADC, Byron C. who commanded the Prussians on the eastern end of the battlefield.

As dawn breaks, both commanding generals send orders to recall their reconnaissance cavalry to the battlefield. 

Day 2, 10:00 - This view, from behind Napoleon's lines shows the Emperor's forces, deployed ready to assault the Allied positions. In the distance, several allied cavalry divisions press the western flank while French cavalry give ground, waiting for additional French cavalry to arrive.

Day 2, 12:00 - Napoleon strikes, driving a brigade of Austrian curiassers from the extreme eastern flank of the allied line with an attack from two brigades of French guard cavalry. Elsewhere on the eastern side of the battlefield the French continue to advance cautiously while the allies continue to organize their internal lines.

Day 2, 12:30 - After the French curiassers have exhausted one division of Prussian cavalry, a counter-attack by a second Prussian cavalry division routs the French curiassers, dispersing them. On the extreme west flank (right in the photo) two allied cavalry divisions continue to press a single French cavalry division, that is desperate to protect the French supply lines that are marked with the supply wagons at the table edge.

We've suspended the game at this point as it was getting late in the evening. We will be returning to finish the battle in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the campaign troops will continue to maneuver. There could be other battles developing, more reinforcements, supply lines being cut, who knows! Stay tuned for more campaign news as it unfolds. For additional photos, including a series of panoramic shots taken from each side at the suspension of the game, you can visit the Northern Conspiracy's Events Galleries.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Roman Triarii for FOG

These are two battle groups of Roman Triarii I painted up for my mid-Republican Roman Field of Glory army. Normally they'll probably see service as four battle groups of two stands each, but in order to allow me to use them in larger groups I painted them up in four-stand units. The figures are Old Glory 15s . I used a basic block painting technique with dry-brushing and Citadel black wash. The wash came out a touch too dark for my tastes, but I'm going to just think of them as 'dirty, weathered veterans'. These are only the second ancients I've painted after a long hiatus, so I'm still getting a feel for the period.

I've finished these just in time for them to be used this Saturday in another battle in our FOG campaign. Hopefully they'll perform well on the tabletop. Sorry for the rough photos. This time of year in New Hampshire, I go to work before the sun comes up and I get home after it sets, so I have to take my photos indoors, and lighting is always a problem for close-up photos of miniatures indoors for me. Some day I'll construct a proper light booth for such occasions. Until then I'm stuck with dodgy photos. The next ancients will be either some Roman cavalry, or some extraordinarii -- I need more of both.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Napoleonic Campaign - First Battle Announced

My new Napoleonic campaign has generated its first battle, the battle of Muttenz. Located centrally in the hypothetical countryside of the campaign. The small village of Muttenz holds a key location on the northern end of two crossroads. Here is the battle announcement my players received:

"In the late morning hours of day two of the campaign, advance elements of the French 2nd light cavalry division approaching from Burgdorf, contacted pickets from a multi-corps Austrian force defending the area surrounding the village of Muttenz. The Austrian force is commanded by Erzherzog Karl, CinC of the combined allied forces. At approximately noon a multi-corps French force under the command of Marshal Rousse will commence a general engagement of the Austrian forces defending Muttenz."

In addition to this general announcement that all players and ADCs received, each team received specific intelligence about their forces in the battle and a general scouting evaluation of the enemy forces. Unfortunately I can't divulge this sort of information here in this public forum.

We're currently working out a date that best suits most of the primary participants. I hope that we'll get good participation from both our primary players and our ADCs, who get to be corps commanders in the larger battles where we need more players. This should be a fun battle. Look for battle report here after the game is played.

Edit: We've scheduled this first game for November 22nd. I'll be sure to post an after-action report after the game.