Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hostile Realms: Unholy Alliance

This large battle (or group of battles) was run using the Hostile Realms rules from Piquet, Inc. at Historicon in July, 2007. It was the result of a collaboration between Jim Mauro, who provided all but a small handful of the troops and myself, and was run twice on Saturday. I'll give the rough outline of the scenario and armies first, and then a brief account of the actions.

Unholy Alliance:
Conflict and Discovery in the legendary Valley of the Shadow of Death

From before the beginning of recorded time, there have been tales of this Valley, where foul things are said to stalk the night. Few were the souls bold enough to intrude on the quiet of the forbidden valley, and still fewer were those who returned, and even they were… forever changed by the experience. Ancient scrolls recently rediscovered in the Great Library at Ravendull bear tales of Artifacts of great power born by the original inhabitants of the Valley. With hostility running high between the various Realms, the factions have formed two tentative alliances as their rulers jockey for position, wealth and power.

Smirkwood, The River of Tears and the Iron Hill are Class III terrain, while the Village of Pale and the Barrows are Class II terrain. Lonely Mountain is Class IV terrain. Long Lake is ClassV (impassable); access is only by way of the bridge of barrels, which is passable to Heroes only. At the South end of the map are the impassable (Class V) Mountains of the Moon. Red, yellow, and pink dots indicate the location of rumored treasures. Set on distance is 18”

The Faction of Good: enters from the West
Followers of the Light: deploy opposite the River of Tears
Dwarven Alliance: deploys opposite Long Lake
High Elves/The Realm: deploy beyond the Forrest of Smirkwood and to the North
Gonfor and Rhodon: deploy opposite Lonely Mountain and West Barrow

The Faction of Evil: enters from the North and East
Empire of Steppes: deploys along the Eastern third of the North edge of the table.
Lizardmen: deploy opposite Long Lake and Mirkwood
Orcs of the Red Eye: deploy opposite Lonely Mountain and East Barrow
Sultanate of Harran: deploys near Iron Hill

Initiative Rolls: Each side will nominate an army to have overall command. The Leadership die of the C-in-C for that army will be used for Initiative rolls against the other side’s overall commander. Each time an Impetus roll is lost, overall command for the losing side shifts to the next army in a clockwise direction. All armies will get the same impetus.

Victory Conditions:
Each player will add the number of morale chips remaining at the end of the game to the value of any relic that their army has collected. An army forced to withdraw from the field by an Army Morale check has a 5 point penalty assessed for this. The highest total is the winner. In case of ties, the army with the fewest units and heroes destroyed, routed, and/or retreated off the table will be the winner. Artifact value: Red = 12, Yellow = 8, Pink = 4.

The Forces:

Army #1 Empire of the Steppes:
8 units Steppe Swarm (LC Bow plus Cumans/Alans etc as needed) @ 21 = 168 pts
3 units Attack cavalry (MC/HC sword/lance) @ 36 = 108 pts
1 Unit Assault cavalry (EHC Bow) @ 98 = 98
1 unit Khan’s guards (EHC Lance) @ 135 = 135

2 units EE Sorcerers @ 6 = 12
2 units EE Baked Clay Soldiers @ 50 = 100
1 unit EE Crossbows @ 16 = 16
2 units EE halberds @ 18 = 36
2 units Dismounted Swarm (LI Archers) @ 18 = 36

1 Unit Multiple Bolt Thrower @ 40; Shoots TWICE (simultaneously) for each Reload
2 Nagas  @ 133 = 266
(”Large” creatures, 8” move, 1 base of 1 figure, Magic Resistance Moderate, Battle Line formation, Armor Class Medium, Hits 12(3), Special Attributes: Fear, Strong; Multiple Attacks(4), Fire: N/A, Melee: D12, Morale: D10)

1 Great Khan (HC Champion) @180
3 Khans (HC Hero) @ 120 = 360
1 Grand Shaman (LC Wizard Hero IV) @ 110
1 Shaman (LC Wizard Hero III) @ 80

Total: 25 Units = 1015 pts; 6 characters = 730 pts; Total 1745 points

Relic Divisor 4 = 7 cards, 50% = 3.

Army #2 Lizardmen
2 units EHC Tharlarions w/ Lance @ 98 = 196
1 unit LC w/ Javelins (Skinks) @ 30

10 units Iguana Warriors (Pikes) = 5 Pike blocks, use 1 stand of hand weapons per 8 of polearms @ 110 per PB = 550
1 unit Monitors of the Shrine (poisoned polearms) (use hand weapons) @ 153
2 units Salamanders (Spear, spit fire) (use hand weapons) @ 98 = 196
2 units Viper Marksmen (MI Bow) @ 35 = 70
2 units Chameleons (LI Bow) @ 35 = 70

1 Behemoth (Dinosaur) @ 85

1 Tyrannosaur (Champion) @ 120
2 Saurians (heroes) @ 88 = 176
1 Cayman (Wizard II hero) @ 112

Total: 21 units @ 1350, 4 characters @ 408; Total 1758

Relic Divisor 4 = 6 cards, 50% = 3.

Army #3 Orcs of the Red Eye

4 Units Orc Warriors w/ Spears @ 27 = 108
2 units Orc Archers @ 21 = 42
2 units Raiders (LI Bow) @ 12 + 24
2 units Trolls (use Ogres) @ 75 = 150
5 units Blood Drinkers (2H swords) @ 84 = 420
1 unit Obsidian Warriors (use black orcs) @ 108
1 Giant @ 112

2 units Warg riders @42 = 84
1 Unit Orc Chariots w/ scythe @112

1 unit Orc Bombard (Medium Gun) @ 48

1 Bone Cracker (Champion on foot) @ 132
1 Flesh Trampler (Hero mounted) @ 96
2 Throat Slashers (Foot heroes) @ 80 = 160
1 Eye Piercer Foot archer hero @64
2 Inepts Wizards (one level 1, one level 2) @ 130 total

Total: 21 units @ 1208; 7 Characters @ 582; Total = 1790

Relic Divisor 5 = 5 cards, 50% = 2.

Army #4 Sultanate of Harran:
1 unit The Chosen (EHC w/ Spear) @ 153
1 unit Sipahis (use MC w/ Spear) @ 105
2 units Akinjis (use MC w/ Bow) @ 21 = 42
2 units Dellis (use LC w/ Bow and Spear) @ 50 = 100
2 units Camels @ 60 = 120

3 units Swordsmen (MI foot with Sword) @ 27 = 81
1 unit Guardsmen (Foot w/ polearms) @ 84
3 units Azabs (LI w/ Bow) @ 18 = 54

2 units Elephants (use 2 Javelinmen and 2 El per unit) @ 45 = 90
1 unit Oliphants (use 2 Javelinmen and 2 Oli per unit) @ 100
1 Wyvern @ 168
1 Water Elemental @ 65

1 Khalif (HC Champion) @ 180
2 Devishes (Heroes) @ 80
1 Grand Vizier (Wizard IV Champion) @ 110
1 Vizier (Wizard III Hero) @ 80

Totals: 20 units @ 1162, 5 characters @ 630, total = 1692

Relic Divisor 4 = 6 cards; 50% = 3.

Army #5 Followers of the Light
2 Brother Knights @ 144 = 288
2 Allied Knights ( 1 each Templar and Hospitaller) @ 112 = 224
2 Sergeants @ 65 = 130
2 Tribesmen (Turkopoles) @ 30 = 60
1 Hippogriff Riders (use Hospitaller w/ swords)@ 91 = 91

1 Zealots @ 36 = 36
2 Martyrs (use peasants) @ 8 = 16
2 Foot Knights @ 77 = 154
2 HI Crossbowmen @ 45 = 90
1 LI Crossbowmen @ 15 = 15

1 Heavy gun @ 52 = 52
1 Fire Elemental (Peter) @ 65 = 65

Grand Master @ 168
Paladin (Foot) @ 80
Paladin (mounted) @ 104
Abbott (Wizard Champion III) @ 160

Total 19 units, 4 characters, 1733 points

Relic Divisor 4 = 5 cards; 50% = 2.

Army #6 Dwarven Alliance (Mountain Dwarves plus some higher tech city allies)

2 units Wild Riders (Bear) (HC, “only” 3 hits) @ 80 = 160

2 units HI pikes (1 pike block – need an odd stand of whatever) @ 60 = 120
4 units Dwarven Infantry (2 units spears, 2 units mixed axe/sword) @ 60 = 240
1 units Guard Axemen (axes) @ 108
1 unit Dwarven Heavy Infantry @ 84
2 units Arquebus (MI, “only” 3 hits) @ 70 = 140
1 unit Veteran crossbows (HI, Elite) @ 98
2 units LI Scouts (bows and med armor) @ 27 = 54
1 Dwarven Mega Cannon (Up 3 to Fire, else as Heavy Gun)
1 Dwarven War Wagon, Mastadon Drawn
1 Dwarven Beer Wagon

1 Earth Elemental @ 65

1 Dwarf Lord (C-in-C) @ 132
1 Arlabest (hero w/ X-Bow) @ 72
2 Myrmidons (hero w/ axe) @ 80 = 160
1 Armorer (Wizard I) @ 96

Total 20 units @ 1,134 + war engines , 5 heroes @ 460 = 1594+ war engines.

Relic Divisor 3 = 8 cards; 50% = 4.

*Dwarf* War Wagons: Class IV terrain, Superior position, enemy must make a Difficulty check to engage them in melee. Missile armed troops aboard (models), and have a D8 for melee, D10 for Fire, and D6 for Morale. Unit is Fearsome.Like all Dwarvish units, they take one more hit than usual to wound, so 4 hits (and 4 nominal "stands" in a unit).

Dwarven Beer Wagon:  When the Dwarf player opens the taps (his option as long as he has the initiative), the Berserker Action card is added to their deck, and *all* Dwarvish units are Up 1 for Morale. Dwarf player in charge also has to drink a bottle of really BAD beer. Another bottle every time the Berserker action card is turned. If the Beer Wagon is destroyed, routed, etc., all Dwarves DOWN 1 for morale, but immediately add a SECOND Berserker action card. No children under age 18, please!  :-)  A few choruses of "Roll out the Barrel", (or "In Heaven, There is No Beer") might also be required, LOL!

Army #7: High Elves and The Realm allies

2 units Cavalry @ 91 (Silver Guardians) = 182

3 units Polearm @ 60 = 180
2 units hand weapons @ 55 = 110
2 units archers @ 50 = 100

1 Dragon @ 189
1 Large Treeman @ 182 (Peter)
1 unit of Treemen @ 95 (Peter)
1 Air Elemental @ 65 (Peter)

1 Loremaster (Evish Wizard Champion IV) @ 198
1 Enchanter (Elvish Wizard Hero III) @ 144
1 Ranger (Elvish Hero archer) @ 80

The Realm (Crusaders):
2 Norman Knights @ 91
2 Archers (longbow) chain (counts as Medium Armor) @ 77
2 Men at Arms, Leather, Polearms (MI Halberdiers) @ 36
2 Heavy Foot, chain, polearms (HI Imperial Halberdiers) @ 60

1 Archduke (mtd EHC Champion) @ 168
1 Yeoman (foot archer hero) @ 72
1 Duke (foot hero) @ 80

Totals: 21 units @ 1449, 6 Heroes @ 742; Total = 2191

Relic Divisor 3 = 9 cards; 50% = 4.

Army # 8: Gonfor and Rhodon

Rhodon Cavalry
4 units HC Lancers @ 81 = 324
4 units HC Archers, swordsmen @ 60 = 240

Gonforian Foot
1 unit Guards of the Keep (HI Polearm) @ 84
2 units Piffilian Rangers (LI, Longbow, Elite) @ 77 = 154
2 units Gonfor Spearmen (MI/HI) @ 50 = 100
3 units Gonfor Archers (MI/HI) @ 40 = 120

1 King of Rhodon (mounted Champion) @ 132
1 Grand Wizard (Wizard Champion) @ 198
1 Prince of Rhodon (mounted Hero) @ 120
1 Lord Commander (Gonfor Champion) @ 120
1 Commander (Gonfor Hero) @ 80
1 Fletcher (Gonfor archer Hero) @ 70

Total: 16 units @ 1022, 6 heroes @ 720; Total = 1742

Relic Divisor 3 = 7 cards; 50% = 3.

The Undead: (GM’s or an extra player with antisocial tendencies!)

Smirkwood (4 pts) 1 unit Skeleton Archers
Iron Hill (4 pts) 1 unit Skeletons w/ Polearms
East Barrow (4 pts) 1 unit Skeleton Crossbowmen
West Barrow (4 pts) 1 unit Skeleton Swordsmen
East Bridgehead (8 pts) 1 unit Skeleton cavalry w/ sword
West Bridgehead (8 pts) 1 unit Skeleton Spearmen
East Mountain (8 pts) 1 Unit Skeleton Lancers
West Mountain (8 pts) 1 unit Mounted Wraiths
Brokenback Falls (12 pts) 1 unit Bolt Throwers (positioned atop the falls, can only be destroyed by missile/magic! Has “Superior Position”, Class IV cover, missile range bands doubled!)
Village of Pale (12 pts) 1 unit Skeletons w/ Polearms
South Mountain (12 pts) 1 Liche Champion Wizard Level 4 (Lard of Pale)
North Mountain (12 pts) 1 Liche Champion Wizard Level 3 (King of Undermountain)

Then roll a D6 for the placement of the Undead unit, which must be within 6” of the site:

1 The unit is placed in a location and formation of the discovering player’s choice, facing determined by the Undead player.
2 The unit is placed in a location of the discovering player’s choice, formation and facing determined by the Undead player
3 The unit is placed in a location, facing, and formation of the Undead player’s choice.
4 The unit is placed in a location, facing, and formation of the Undead player’s choice. The Undead player immediately gets one initiative point.
5 The unit is placed in a location, facing, and formation of the Undead player’s choice. The Undead player immediately gets two initiative points.
6 The unit is placed in a location, facing, and formation of the Undead player’s choice. The Undead player immediately gets three initiative points.

The Undead have their own sequence deck; they get half of the initiative points of the other armies after the Active side moves, and half after the Reactive side moves (odd numbers split at the Undead player’s choice. Each unit acts individually; for Move Purposes, treat them as having an Average Commander (D10).

In order to attain the artifact associated with a particular Undead unit, that unit must be defeated in melee, routed, or destroyed. Once the artifact has been obtained, it remains with the unit that captured it. It may be transferred to another unit or character within 4” on a Leadership card. Enemy units may take artifacts from the unit bearing them by the same means. Note that the artifacts are too complex and dangerous to be used on the battlefield until they are carefully studied by the College of Magic at each country’s capital.

Empire of Steppes: 25 Units = 1015 pts; 6 characters = 730 pts; Total 1745 points

Lizardmen: 21 units @ 1350, 4 characters @ 408; Total 1758

Orcs of the Red Eye: 21 units @ 1208; 7 Characters @ 582; Total = 1790

Sultanate of Harran: 20 units @ 1162, 5 characters @ 630, total = 1692

Evil Totals: 86 units, 22 characters, 6985 points.

Followers of the Light: 19 units, 4 characters, 1733 points

Dwarven Alliance: 20 units @ 1,134, 5 characterss @ 460; Total = 1594

High Elves/The Realms: 21 units @ 1449, 6 characters @ 742; Total = 2191

Gonfor and Rhodon: 16 units @ 1022, 6 characters @ 720; Total = 1742

Good Totals: 75 units, 21 characters, 7260+ points.

Unholy Alliance: After Action Report

    I met Jim Mauro in the Showroom to start set up the game at 10 AM. For those of you who don’t know Jim, he’s almost as insane as I am when it comes to running big games. Jim had been painting for a couple of months to complete the armies that I set up for the game. In the end, I think he brought about 200 units of 15mm Fantasy figures, each unit, beast, and character having a color coded base with a label detailing its stats in a format that was cryptic at first, but once used a few times, fairly easy to understand.After consideration, we decided that the game as we originally envisaged it was probably a bit too complex and ambitious for a new rules set with players who were unfamiliar with them, and so by default we essentially wound up running 4 simultaneous but separate side by side games. Overall, that worked well for our purposes.

The match-ups had The Empire of the Steppes vs. Gonfor and Rhodon (think LOTR),

Orcs vs. High Elves,

Lizardmen vs. Mountain Dwarves (thanks to Rob for providing the Dwarvish army),

and finally the Sultanate of Harran (with Elephants and Wyvern) vs. the Followers of the Light (think Teutonic Knights plus magic and gunpowder).

I’m afraid that I don’t recall too much of who played which army, except that my good friend Barry Frandsen played the Empire of the Steppes. Barry was a huge help in playtesting these rules, but his familiarity with the rules and indeed, the army was to little avail as events unfolded. The forces of Gonfor bottled him up quickly, preventing his myriad of weak but annoying horse archers form getting the room they needed to threaten the flanks of the enemy. Still, the Baked Clay soldiers and Nagas gave a good account of themselves before the army collapsed under the assault of the enemy. Elsewhere, the Orcs and Elves fought to what looked like a bloody draw (the Dragon was awesome in combat), the Dwarves defeated the Lizardmen (the Dwarvish War Wagon seeming particularly annoying to the reptiles), and the Sultanate of Harran soundly thrashed the Followers of the Light, the Wyvern seeming almost invincible. Rob’s Dwarf army also included a unique “Beer Wagon” model, in honor of which Rob supplied 2 kegs of Dwarf Beer to keep the players in both games well lubricated!

After round one (1 PM to 5 PM, we straightened all the troops out and set up for round two (7 to 11 PM).  The second round had a lot more veteran Piquet players, so we introduced some of the Relics (magic items) into the second round. Those games seemed to go smoothly, and curiously the results were exactly the opposite:

The Empire of the Steppes (under Christian) soundly defeating Gonfor,

the Elves (under Andy Cowell) and Orcs (Herman) once again seemingly fighting to a bloody draw,

the Lizardmen (Pat Velas) scampering all over Rob Chellis and his hapless Dwarves (I think Rob rolled almost all “1’s” during the game), 

and the Followers of the Light (Chris Velas) routing the troops of Harran (Michael).

A few anecdotes observed from the games of Round 2… In the Steppes/Gonfor game, the Characters included Khan Noonian Singh, The Ruby Khan, and Mad Alin Khan, with Grand Shaman Chainee and Shaman Dubyah in support. At about the midpoint of the game, Dubyah decided to cast the powerful spell, “Firestorm”, at the enemy. The odds of casting the spell successfully were best if the range to the target was 6” or less, so the eager Dubyah sited the impact point at exactly 6” away, targeting the front units of the advancing enemy hosts. Unfortunately, Dubyah hadn’t done well in Geometry in Wizard School, and forgot that the spell had an effect radius of… six inches! KAFLOOM!!! The spell managed to incinerate not only a considerable number of the enemy, but also some of his own skirmishers, Grand Shaman Chainee, and Dubyah himself as well. It is rumored that shortly before the casting of the catastrophic spell, Dubyah was heard mumbling about “Nuke – clear Weapons”. I couldn’t have scripted something that perfect if I had tried!

Note the ball of smoke indicating the detonation point for Dubyah’s Folly, and the now notable lack of units in front of it!

Meanwhile in the Followers of the Light game, the dreaded Martyrs came into play. These are basically a cloud of unarmed religious fanatics, eager to die for the Cause; each time one is killed, a unit of massed Zealots is recharged with Spell energy and can cast a Lightning Bolt spell! The Followers player (Chris Velas assisted by Jim) of course pushed the Martyrs out in front of his forces, and the Harranites cooperated by slaughtering many of them, only to find themselves targeted with many a righteous lightening bolt! Thereafter, Mike, the Harran player, seemed terrified of these completely incompetent and otherwise useless peasants, giving them wide berth! In this battle, the vaunted Wyvern was disordered, then outflanked and destroyed, while the Elephants ran for their Southern home, trampling many friendly units in their terror.

Christian rolls for the Empire of the Steppes while Andy Cowell calculates!

Overview of the “Evil side of the table: Herman, Pat, and Mike, all hotly engaged.

Overview of the table, Round 2; Lonely Mountain is prominent in the Foreground.

The cleanup, again affably assisted by Joe and many of the players, was completed by Midnight. Thanks again to Jimmy Mauro for the enormous amount of work he did to make these games a success. Hostile Realms has a tremendous amount of flexibility to model unique properties of various kinds of mundane and fantastic units in some different and fun ways!

Happy Memorial day weekend to those of you in the US. As we play our games of conflict, let us recall those men and women of all countries for whom war was and is no game, and especially those who lost their lives in the process.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Battalion du Prince de Neufchatel

Prussia ceded the Principality of Neufchatel to France in December, 1805, and Napoleon bestowed it upon Marshal Berthier in March of the following year. In 1807, a battalion of light infantry was decreed, although recruitment was slow - all the men were volunteers, enlisting for four years, and had to be from Neufchatel, Valais, or Switzerland. Small artillery and engineer companies were added in 1808. Berthier's Neufchatel Battalion joined the Imperial headquarters establishment in 1809, but did not arrive in Austria until after the battle of Aspern-Essling. Assigned to duty guarding the bridgehead at the Battle of Wagram, it evidently saw some action near the end of the fighting.

The battalion was sent to Spain in 1810, where it mostly participated in escort and counter insurgency operations, although it did participate in the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo. The Battalion was recalled from Spain for the campaign in Russia in March, 1812, but did not arrive in time for the Battle of Borodino. The Neufchatel battalion fought hard at Krasnoi, and again at the Beresina, but largely ceased to exist thereafter, like so many units of the retreating Grand Armee. The Battalion was restored by conscription in 1813, and was again attached to Imperial headquarters; it saw fighting on the last day of the Battle of Leipzig. During the retreat from that battle, many of the men became ill, and the unit effectively ceased to exist, taking no organized part in the 1814 campaign. The remaining officers and men, less than 100, were officially disbanded in June of that year.

The uniforms of the Battalion du Prince de Neufchatel were designed by Berthier himself. Reportedly a relatively ugly man himself, Berthier's personal staff were known throughout the army for the magnificence of their costume, rivaling those of Murat's staff. It is perhaps not surprising that he chose to clothe his personal unit in a very distinctive fashion, being unique in the army for wearing yellow ("chamois") coats. As one might imagine, this occasioned a fair amount of heckling, the Swiss calling them "canaries", the French "serins" (birds), and the Spanish populace "amarillos", "pasidos", or "canarios". The silver buttons were inscribed "Battalion Neufchatel" in the center, with a laurel wreath below and the words "Empire Francais" above. There is once again good information about the Battalion at the Histofig site; the bulk of the information in this post is from Dempsey's book, "Napoleon's Mercenaries", previously reviewed here.

Here are "the canaries" in all their flashy glory! The exact shade of yellow used for the coats is uncertain; I used Delta Ceramcoat "Pale Straw" as the color, but probably anything from buff to light orange might be reasonable.

The unit was organized the same as a standard French Light Infantry unit, with 4 companies of chasseurs, one of carabiniers, and one of voltigeurs; the chasseurs evidently all had white pom poms and epaulets. Although I have them in shakos here, evidently bearskins (with red cords) were generally worn by the carabiniers of the Battalion, even in 1812

It is recorded that the unit was given "a small flag of Tricolor serge, inscribed on both sides with "Battalion du Prince de Neufchatel" on both sides "while it was waiting to receive 'one just like that issued to units with Eagles". It is unknown if such a flag was ever received, and if so, the details of its design. I have chosen to give my own "canaries' a standard pre 1812 French pattern standard, inscribed as above on the front. It is noted that the commander of the Battalion had crossed Marshal's batons in silver as turnback ornaments; I therefore chose to place crossed batons within the laurel wreaths of  my Neufchatel Battalion's flag (modified from Napflag).

The dilute "magic wash" worked especially nicely on these uniforms to bring out the details without dulling the colors. Quite the classy unit! I made the red of their facings comparatively dark to contrast better with the yellow uniform coats. 

The Neufchatel Battalion before flocking and the magic wash; the drummer's dress is based upon the plate at the Histofig site. These are 28mm Sash and Saber French line infantry  figures once again... soon to be lighting up a battlefield near you!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Battle of Tarvis: May 17, 1809

This game was run on Thursday night at Historicon, in July 2010. Prince Eugene, having chased the Austrians under Erzherzog Johann out of Italy, comes upon an outnumbered, realtively demoralized and poor quality Austrian force under Gyulai holding a strong prepared defensive position near the village of Tarvis. With almost all of his artillery bottled up by the small fort blocking the Alpine pass at Malborgetto, he decides to attack! To win this scenario, the Austrians merely have to avoid failing Army Morale by nightfall - the end of action on the 6th Austrian MOVE card turned. We used the "What if" option that allowed Colloredo's entire force to arrive on the battlefield some tome after the scenario has already begun.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera that trip, and so all my pictures are lousy ones from my i-phone. Fortunately, Gabriel was there with his amazing photo equipment. Thus, the blury, indistinct pics are invariably mine, and the excellent, sharp ones are his! Rules used were Field of Battle 1st edition, but also playtesting some of the changes (which we liked) that became part of the 2nd edition, released in late 2011.

Joe looks on as the Italians (foreground) and French commence the advance.

The first French attack; note the limbered guns moving up behind the attack columns. The rows of stones represent the Austrian earthworks/redoubts.

The French attack begins in earnest; note Austrian Cavalry battery in the foreground, which has just fired at French skirmishers across the Schlitza stream (sounds like a cheap beer to me!)

The Austrian defenders are severely outnumbered.

Cavalry Battery opens fire again, as the Austrian Hussars move up in support on their flank!

You may fire when ready, battery commanders!
(headless participants left to right are Peter, Adam, and Greg!)

The French have cleared the Austrian defenders out of two of the redoubts."I have a bad feeling about this!" The battle could be over quickly, or... not!

Eric: "Roll a 2 or less on a D6 for my reinforcements to enter... I can do that." And he does!

Bidseye view of  the Austrian position, and the overwhelming French/Italian attackers

Gabriel moves up the Austrians of the second line, stationed on the Weissenberg, as Coloredo's arriving troops march forward with uncharacteristically Kaiserlick alacrity!

Austrian Reinforcements deploy!

The thin white line....

This Austrian Brigade battery must have been commanded by Oberst Smola himself, as it inflicted 3 UI loss (each rock indicates a UI lost) on its target almost every time it fired!

Tim (faceless) explains fine points of the rules, while Peter, Czar Barry, and Adam look on. Barry is smiling, so the French must be taking heavy losses around now!

Close up of the Austrian firing line

Fontanelli's Italians have pushed through the woods and are assaulting the redoubt on the Austrian far left. This proved to be a surprisingly difficult position to take!

The French have finally cleared the first Austrian Line of Defense, but the Austrian reinforcements have arrived in the meantime!

Hard fighting on the Austrian right!  Austrian muskets (courtesy of Eric's hot dice) have just routed a French Ligne battalion with heavy losses.

Adam smiles as the French advance, while Peter contemplates scenario design, or something!

Late action on the Weissenberg; the Austrian 2nd line seems to be holding back Eugene and his army of Italy so far....

French Cavalry (chasseurs a cheval) launch a charge!

The French press on, trying to break the Austrians before nightfall allows their shattered forces to slip away...

Austrian Left flank still stands firm. After the campaign, the Kaiser needs to award a number of crosses of the Order of Maria Theresa to the officers and soldiers of that regiment, I think!

Near the end of the game; Michelle's general, left with just the routed Cavalry battery under her command!

Closeup of the fall of  Michelle's General (failed Officer survival check - a roll of "1" on a D20!. Despite his loss, as darkness closes in on the battlefield, the Austrians, with almost their entire army routed, still manage to pass their Army Morale Test for the win!

The players for this game were great, and everyone had a lot of fun playing the game. Rather to my surprise, midway through the action, we were told that the game had won the award for the best game of  the Thursday evening time slot. The presenter commented that it was all but unheard of to see a Napoleonic game where all the players were laughing and smiling! Must have been Tim Couper's dry British wit and non stop puns...

Good gaming, and... always remember to have fun!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Provisional Croatian Regiments

As part of the provisions of the Treaty of Vienna in 1809, the territories of six of the former Grenz regiments of the Austrian Empire were transferred to the French Empire. These units were rechristened as the Chasseurs Illyriens in October 1809. With the approach of the planned invasion of Russia in 1812, Napoleon sought some way to make use of this manpower. Beacause of their border defense duties, entire units could not be safely removed from their districts. Thus the Regiments Provisores Croates, or Provisional Croatian Regiments were formed in 1811. Four regiments were ultimately ordered, but only three were ever formed, the 3rd in sequence being the first actually organized.

The First regiment was formed in October, 1811, and saw action in 1812 at Ostrowno, light combat at Borodino, and led the 4th Corps in action at Maloyaroslavets. They fought again at Krasnoi and the Berezina. In 1813 battalions of this unit were part of the garrisons of Glogau and Magdebourg (where it took part in the battle of Hagelsburg in August, 1813).

The Second regiment wasn't formed until February, 1813, and saw action at Bautzen as part of Bertrand's corps.

The Third regiment was formed in September, 1811. It participated in the invasion of Russia as part of Oudinot's 2nd Corps, and were brigaded with the Swiss regiments. They fought well at the first and 2nd battles of Polotsk, and the crossing of the Beresina. Remnants of the regiment served in garrison duty in 1813.

Uniforms:  The uniforms of their parent units were in a state of flux, and when Napoleon reviewed the 3rd Provisional regiment in Paris in December, 1813, "he was displeased with their appearance", and ordered a new uniform of "light infantry style" with a green jacket and pants, white metal buttons, white vest, and crimson facings. The tailors of the Guard were given the task of fabricating the new uniforms! Details of the other regiments dress are less certain, but is seems likely they were also green. Primary sources record green uniforms with *yellow* facings as well. (This information form Dempsey's book, previously reviewed). There is very useful information and plates at the Histofig site as well. It is very likely that the 1st and 3rd regiments at least received eagles and flags, most likely in the 1812 pattern.

I chose to do my small unit of Croats, once again needed for our 1812 project for Borodino and Maloyaroslavets, with yellow facings. This is what is shown on Histofig, and recorded in eyewitness accounts.... but mostly I chose it because I thought the yellow facings were more striking and unique than the crimson! The white gaiters are quite spiffy looking as well, I think.

This is the same view before the "Magic Wash"; the effect is subtle but noticeable, I think. 

Slightly out of focus;  the company distinctions were as per standard French practice. These are spare 28mm (French) Sash and Saber figures once again. 

The turquoise blue jackets of the drummer and Sapper are taken form the plate on the Histofig site. The Green epaulettes of the voltigeurs are relatively inconspicuous on the green coats, aren't they? 

A good view of the rear of the uniforms. The 1812 pattern flag is from Warflag/Napflag, with the inscription modified in MSPaint to read "au Regt Provisore Croates". There would be no battle honors on it, although doubtless some of the soldiers fought at Wagram... except for the other side!

Consider adding this or one of the many other colorful "foreign" units in French service to your French Napoleonic wargames army!