Thursday, December 31, 2009

Action at Kuhbrucke

Otto von Pirch scratched the soul of his foot and sighed blissfully. Another week of relaxing in this charming little inn, waiting for the non-existent threat of the dread Arvergnards to invade and seize the delicious province of Weingarten, and he would have just about caught up with his sleeping schedule. He contemplated his morning: a hearty breakfast of saerkraut croissants and Rheingasse*, a quick constitutional out to the pine plantation where the lads were roughing it, and back to bed for a pre-prandial nap. 

His contemplation was interrupted by heavy boots on the stairs, and his effervescent ADC bouncing into the room with his customary excess of enthusiasm. "Sir, Sir! The damn snaileaters are advancing! I spotted a long column of dust thrusting forward up the Lefolliet road an hour ago, and when I scouted it, it looked to be a whole brigade of infantry! With Artillery Support!"

Otto grunted, and sat up in bed - slowly, so as not to plague his back with sudden exertion. "Well done, Fritzie, now go tell the lads to pack up and get marching down the road back to Hochenberg please." 

"Oh but sir! we surely have a strong enough position to hold them off here, esconced in these pine plantations, with Roentgen's Battery safely across the river. Isn't it our duty to put up a fight and show them what we're made of?"

"Bone, blood and guts? I don't really think they need to see that up close to find out, my boy." Fritzie bounded out and down the stairs again, still hip-full of vim, and Otto commenced his morning coughing bout, then pulled on his boots and started shaving, cursing the lack of hot water in this fleapit tavern.

As he was wiping the last of the soap off his face, he heard a sound to chill his blood - young Fritzie screaming, 'Stand here, lads, stand to your muskets'. He cleaned a patch on the window with his towel and peered myopically out, to see his Freikorps battalions all under arms, and apparently ready to fight the enemy - Kleists' lads fronting the southern plantation, the Electoral FK the north frontation, and Bulow's crack jager held back in reserve, while Roentgen's guns were deployed and showing every sign of starting to pot off a ranging shot or two. At least he wasn't lumbered with Heisenberg's battery, that man never seems to know where to find his guns, he thought to himself

 (Kleist Frei Korps - with Fritzie on horseback - in the foreground, Otto's inn far right background)

Opening the window with a terrible screech (the hinges, not the brigadier!), he peered out, and his blood chilled further to see the Arvergnards deploying off the road already. What in Gods name was Fritzie thinking?

The leading regiments deploying

Otto hurriedly pulled on his pants, tearing a hole as he dragged them over his boots, then snatched a jacket and leaped down the stairs three at a time, cursing his arches briefly when he landed on the floor. By the time he got outside, searched for his horse briefly and futilely, and ran over to the Bulow Frei Korps, the Arvergnards had deployed their front line, a pair of 6 pounders moving up to drop into position beside the village, and a reserve line of grenadiers was marching into a second line.


The Arvergnard foot deploying from the right, rather clumsily
Otto looked at the odds and groaned. Two to one as the very minimum, and all his lads had was a few poor pine plantations to keep them safe. Too late to march off the field now, they'd have to make a fight of it. He barked an order to Bulow, to wheel and march his men into the village, as the Arvergnards had neglected to secure it so far.

The enemy, nothing loth, pressed forward quickly - well, quickly for Arvergnards - with one regiment steadfastly advancing at the Kleist, the other towards the Electoral Freikorps, while their artillery unlimbered by the village. Some accurate enfilade from Roentgen's battery across the river laid low many of that regiment, but their own first volley blasted far too many of Kleist's lads out of their boots, and they tumbled back, looking for better cover.


The Auxerre Regiment presses forward, suffering from artillery fire (off-left), while the Kleist FK falls back hurriedly.

The Electoral FK, having a rush of blood to the head, tried charging into the Arvergnard battery, but failed to catch it before it deployed, so took a blast of canister fire, then it was all bayonets and whirling ramrods: meanwhile, the Orleanois Regiment pressed forward, trying to catch Otto and the Bulow FK as they hotfooted their way into the village - with a notable lack of success.

Orleannois advancing into space, with Bulow FK just visible disappearing into a house

The Auxerre Regiment, undeterred by flanking artillery fire and broken ground, surged into the pine plantations, and, catching up with the Kleist Frei Korps, dealt them another mighty blast of musketry, reducing them to less than half strength, and shooting poor Fritzie out of the saddle (Well, Otto's saddle technically). Unable to endure, the Kleist took to their heels and fled pellmell

End of the Kleist

Meanwhile, after a prolonged slugfest, the Electoral Freikorps had enough, and broke and ran, leaving the rather battered artillerymen still in possession. However, Otto saw a chance for one shrewd blow, and ordered Bulow's men to pepper the artillery with a round of shot before withdrawing hastily to the north, before the wheeling infantry sealed him in this rathole of a village.

That peppering took a heavy toll of the artillerymen (close range elite shooting) and they in turn ran, abandong their guns.

Grenadiers Dauphinoise redeploying in foreground. In the village, Bulows FK peer out and start potshotting the artillery from behind.

Hmm, light infantry dont seem to be very effective, even in relatively broken ground. A few things I think I want to add to these rules:
-  minus on shooting for Open Order targets (as well as better saves)

-  bonus for troops charging
-  More disruption to shooting for non-OO infantry in broken ground/woods

*cheap german imitation champagne

Monday, December 28, 2009

A brief plea

Does anyone have details on the colours (colors) that the British army painted their guns in the 18th century? I've ransacked my library, scoured the internet (encountering many fascinating articles about Minden and Fontenoy), but all to no avail.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Der Unbemalte Stapel III

Well, next stage is done, here are the undercoated figures for this bunch, not yet brown-inked:

In more detail, here is the cavalry: A regiment of British Horse grenadiers, 2 regiments of Austrian cuirassiers, a regiment of Prussian Cuirassiers, and a stray (small) regiment of American cavalry

The foot, as mentioned, 1 battalion of grenadiers, 2 regiments of line, and 3/4 of another line regiment, plus the company already painted for the last

Plus, of course, a few spare brigadiers (yet to be named)

There's always something I find incredibly appealing about the crisp clean look of freshly-undercoated figures... perhaps just the neatness and highlighted detail, and part the potential of what they might look like (so often, alas, unfulfilled once completed, as my painting is never as good as I aspired to)

Thursday, December 24, 2009


And a Merry Christmas to all .. may your revels be delightful and lacking in hangovers!

Raise a stein to your friends, and confusion to the French!

Oh, and to update on the unpainted pile being worked on at the moment:

'Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the house
not a creature was stirring
except for a Dremel and some Glue...

The infantry shook out into a 32 of grenadiers, 2 32's of Line, and a 24 (which will go nicely to boost the company-strong Regiment #9 Nederlander to a full 32-strong battalion).

The cavalry however are much more dubious - I have 36 Front Rank riders, 18 thinner/older (I think they are either Minifigs, or a knock-off drop mouldings - I think the latter as both horse and rider exhibit the typical signs of the mould being pressed too hard (i.e. thinner in the middle than at the ends), altho I have to say if they are drop-mouldings the flash has been well-cleaned.
Unfortunately almost all the horses seem to be the latter, leaving the FR riders rather precariously balanced on underbred & underfed ponies. Oh well, I guess I can paint them up as Spanish cavalry :)

More pics when they are properly undercoated & browned

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Der Unbemalte Stapel II

At the clamoring of multitudes - well, one - here are a few (really bad) photos of what I was talking about in my last post, taken on the cameraphone, which reduces my usual appalling photography to an even worse state :/

The pile of Austrians I've dragged out to work on looks like this:

This is a fair sample of what I'm being handed as an Austrian Grenadier, but the shape of the bearskin looks wrong (ignore the clearly-focussed painting table please)

And ... this is a Foundry horse? or even Front Rank? I think not, poor wee starved creature that it is

This is a fair sample of the 'Foundry' Austrians, clearly lacking the usual Foundry girth, barrel chest, squat legs and savagely cruel expression of malicious evil ... no wait, that last bit is universal to SYW Austrians of all manufacture, I forgot.

Der Unbemalte Stapel

Well, I seem to have finished off my 25mm (ha!) Romans, with a unit of cataphracts, so time to dig out some more unpainted lead.

One thing I had been working on before we moved house in October & all got reduced to confusion, is trying to undercoat and brown-ink all my unpainted ancients, and base them (i.e. de-flash, file the bottoms flat, and loosely glue to bases). This has gone pretty well, and most of them at least have had this treatment, so are available to use at home, if not outside! This also - of course - makes it much more likely they will get painted eventually, as all the boring bits have already been done.

Time to move on to my SYW pile*, so I had a quick scan (ha!) last night, and found a pile of Brits, a big pile of Prussians, and a big pile of Austrians (memo to self: must buy some more Russians). As the Austrian (Skyrian) contingent is woefully undermanned, I thought best to start on these**, so extracted 4 large bags of lead as a place to start.

Hmm, these were all bought off eBay (some year or 3 ago) as Foundry Austrians, but looking at them now, I'm not at all sure. The Grenadier bearskins look suspiciously AWI-British, and a lot of the cavalry look far too underfed*** to be Foundry at all. Still, I'll undercoat them and see what they look like. I have to admit, with the diminishment of my painting time, ability, and general concentration, anything 2nd rate is more likely to get sold off or binned than painted - with limited time resources, why invest it in rubbish? Money isn't as scarce as time nowadays (a radical change from 30 years ago!)

* it should be piles, plural, but thats too subject to misinterpretation!

** Fear not, my beloved Prussians, I shall return to your ranks! Funny how your favourite armies always massively outnumber the opposition, though :)

*** Not to say Foundry figures are as overplump as many wargamers, but every blister should probably have a Nutrilife sticker on the back

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Battle of Dienstleutenberg

Quick summary of my 2nd try-out of the BAR rules, featuring the retreating Colonians (Americans) being pursued by a couple of brigades of Icenians (British) after an apparently disastrous confrontation between the Colonian/Arvergniard alliance and the Kruppfalz/Icenian armies.

The egregious General Greene (above, rallying some disheartened States Guard troops) has selected a hilly hamlet to make a rearguard stand:

Start here
then this
and finally this

A couple of observations about the rules:

  • The artillery was pretty pathetically ineffective, despite what seemed like a decent position
  • First fire is DESTRUCTIVE - and after that, vastly less effective

There are quite a lot of holes in the rules that I had to make up rules for on the spot, which I need to write down so it remains consistent (to be fair, I may have missed them in the rules, it's hard to say), including:
  • Passing Fire
  • Shooting into Melees
  • Shooting overhead
These are the OB's

Battle of Dienstleutenberg


Maj General Green Elite

Brigadier Bickle Veteran

1st New Hull Continentals Veteran line 24 10 240
5th New Hull SG
Trained line 18 9 162
2nd New Hull SG Trained line 18 9 162
Schiphol Rifles Trained light 12 7 84
Brigadier Bartlet Veteran

1st Algonquin Continentals Veteran line 24 10 240
2nd Algonquin Continentals Veteran line 24 10 240
Green Mountain Rifles Veteran light 12 8 96

Mcallisters Battery Trained art 8 18 144

2 60 120


Maj General Fitzpheather Trained

Brigadier Maxwell Trained

12th Foot Veteran line 32 10 320
39th Foot Veteran line 32 10 320
7th Fusiliers Elite line 32 11 352
Maxwell's Grenadiers Elite Gren 32 14 448
Brigadier von Kurse Elite

Kurse's Kurasserie Veteran Cuir 12 22 264

Dienstleutenberg (4)

The Fusiliers, somewhat slow in their reforming, got then caught by the advancing 2nd Algonquins, whose advance inspired the riflemen lurking in the woods to more adventurous conduct (and, alas, even more adventurous marksmanship, or lack of it)

On the right, the 12th Foot fled, but Maxwell managed to rally his Grenadier battalion, and turn to face the advancing States Guard.

Meanwhile, the Cuirassiers retained control and did not pursue, instead charging down the New Hull continental regiment.

To general* amazement, however, the Novohullers retained their nerve, held fire til the last moment, and blew away the whole regiment of menacing horse with a single lethal volley, wounding the accompanying brigadier von Huff in the bargain. Pausing only for a stern cheer (Kruppfalz Sucks!), they advanced to menace the fleeing Icenian foot

On the right, the Fusiliers managed to reform their line, somewhat reduced, only to find themselves enfolded in a slow stinging fire

The reformed Grenadiers, after one swift look around the field, elected to turn and retire at the double, pursued by stinging volleys from the advancing Colonian troops

Meanwhile, the Fusiliers found themselves assaulted front and rear, insulted in flank, shaken and dismayed. Their remnants raised mitres upon bayonets, surrendering to the victorious Colon

Final count:
12th Foot: Routed, 9 casualties of 32
39th Foot: Routed, 17 casualties of 32
23rd Fusiliers: Wiped out, 22 casualties, 10 prisoners
Maxwells Grenadiers: Retreated in good order, 19 casualties of 32
Seydlitz Kurassierie: Wiped out, 12 casualties of 12

1st Algonquin Continentals: Routed, 14 casualties of 24
2nd Algonquin Continentals: Good order, 3 casualties of 24
1st New Hull Continentals: Good order, 8 casualties of 24
1st New Hull States Guard: Good order: 5 casualties of 18
2nd New Hull States Guard: Routed, 11 casualties of 18
Schiphol Rifles: Good Order, 0 casualties of 12
Green Mountain Rifles: Good order, 4 casualties of 12
Algonquin Artillery battery: Good order, no casulties of 8

*Well, mine anyway!

Dienstleutenberg (3)

In the centre, Maxwell's grenadiers decided the fire was too oppressive, and the menace* of the looming artillery too much, and decamped to find a more salubrious position, sweeping away the vainly gesturing Maxwell as they went.

However, far more ominously, a weak regiment of Kruppfalz Kurasserie trotted down the road, sabres gleaming in the somewhat soggy sun. A shiver ran down the line of Colon foot, but the sturdy presence of Colonel Bickle apparently settled their nerves.

On the right, the 1st Algonquins elected to charge the advancing 39th Foot, rather than waiting for the dread cuirassiers to exploit their advent. They also drew the States Guard battalion beside them into the charge. Apparently catching the Icenians by surprise, their receiving fire was ineffectual, but the clash of bayonets was fierce on both sides, leading to both the 39th and the Algonquins breaking and running, leaving the somewhat-astonished States Guard holding the position.

On the Colonian right, the Fusiliers, having overcommitted in their charge, elected to form on the right to reposition themselves, the opposing riflemen pelting them with cottonballs and the occasional walnut (for all the effect their shooting had)

As the second line (12th Foot) moved up to replace the broken grenadiers, they in turn got assailed in their flank by a mob of shouting States Guard - however, the Icenians were apparently made of stern stuff, as they simply brushed off the charge without injury. The 2nd Algonquins, meanwhile, moved to try and screen the advancing cuirassiers.

Alas, they did not press ardently enough, and while the advancing Colonian foot all fell onto the front of the halted 12th of Foot and smashing them, the Cuirassiers fell upon the flank of the States Guard with cries of joy, breaking them immediately

General Green, meanwhile, occupied himself trying to rally the fleeing foot, to no noticable effect.

Next here

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dienstleutenberg (2)

Green peered again through the borrowed telescope, and sure enough, hot on the heels of the quick-marching Colonnials were a brigade of the damn Icenians, two regiments of foot heading the pursuit.

Bickle led his Continentals off to form the far left of the front line, followed by half his State Guard, while he sent the rest to reinforce the second line, forming in between the two Alqonquin regiments

The evil Icenian commander, however, seemed to elect to avoid the woods on the right, and started forming up opposite the Colonian left, with the regular foot forming in two lines, and a combined battalion of grenadiers (Maxwell's) extending the front line.

Last of the Brigade on to the field was a regiment of fusiliers, the famed 23rd Gwynedd, and these seemed to show some inclination to at least mask the wood to avoid insult to the flank of the advancing foot.

While the Icenians formed up, and pressed forward their attack, the Colon Artillery popped away several times, to little discernable effect - the only hit Green spotted was when a pair of oxen went flying into the air, presumably saving some butcher the effort of providing dinner that evening.

On the Right, the Green Mountain Rifles got a trifle keen and pressed too close to the advancing Fusiliers, and a well-timed first volley from the latter laid a third of them hors de combat. The Schiphols, rather more cannily, loitered in the fringe of the woods, potting away the occasional shot but to little effect on either side.

The Icenians kept pressing forward, drawing the 1st Algonquins off the hill to support the first line, while their sister regiment pressed forward to assail the apparently exposed flank. A fierce exchange of first volleys on the Colonian left was equal in overall injury, but the weight of numbers on the more exposed grenadiers on the right, told viciously. The New Hull Continentals
took damage, but the straight shooting from the 2nd Algonquins laid low many a furred hat, and the Grenadiers reeled under the press of damage.

On the right, the Fusiliers charged with a mighty Gwynedd shout, but failed to catch either rifle battalion, altho the Schiphol boys were so dilatory in their endeavours, the glittering bayonets came close

Next here

Back to the table (1)

Well, after an interlude for sickness, house hunting & acquisition, and moving, back to a second test of BAR:


The sodden infantry of the CRC squinted, pulled their tricornes closer over their eyes, and scowled into the rain as it dashed against their faces. After the beating they took at La Follet, when the miserable Arvergnards left them in the lurch, they counted themselves lucky to have hats and muskets, and to be alive to retreat from the field.

General Green sniff forlornly at his snuff - as drenched as everything in this wretched army. Behind him, he knew, the Icenians, or their leash-holders the Kruppfalzen, were hot on the trail, and he blessed whatever stars had kept their fiendish cavalry off his back so far - abandoning the wagon trains and artillery seemed like a stroke of brilliance now, despite all the arguments. Still, it wouldn't be long before they caught up, and it behooved him to find somewhere for his squelching troops to make a stand, and try to dry their powder.

Up ahead he could see a low ridge, with the road leading into the pitiful hamlet of, of, of ... some blasted Allemannic craphole, he cursed under his breath. Dienstleutenberg, if he didnt misremember. Rapping his wooden leg* for luck, he sent a runner to Brigadier Teague, directing him to post his remaining few 6 pounders on the ridge, with the Algonquin infantry covering to either side of it, and send the Green Mountain boys into the copse nearby to avoid insult to that flank. He squinted behind him .... somewhere back behind the curtain of rain, there was Bickle's brigade of brash New Hullers, hopefully somewhat intact: the raw Janelanders were probably all dispersed, those that had escaped the dreadful sabres of the damned Cuirassier charge.

After an hour resting on the ridge, and watching the rain recede, his troops had managed to dry out somewhat, and the first of Bickle's men were visible down the road, the seedy and shaky Schiphol Rifles in the van. Peering through Colonel Roosfelt's telescope, he could see more thick columns looming behind Bickle, rather ominously close. He sent a runner to Bickle, directing him to form up in front of the ridgeline the Algonquins were posing on, and to send the riflemen to reinforce the Green Mountain rifles in holding the woods.

* His favoured weapon in battle, this was a leg his father had wrenched off an Arvergnian Colonel in the assault on Schellenburg 50 years earlier, and he carried it strapped to his saddle when not waving it vigorously to encourage his men.

Next here