After an incredibly long hiatus, caused completely by my own apathy (honestly I was rather unwell for a number of months, and it took some time to get restarted) I’ll post more bad pictures of stuff I’ve painted. Badly. Oh well, never mind. The painting and gaming proved a little easier to continue than the whole blogging and tiding up thing, so there is a backlog of stuff that got done.
Here we have more French troops for our (now somnolent) Maurice campaign. Some more exist on a previous post also. While Maurice ran well for a long while, the group felt that all the battles were “samey” and interest dropped off. Personally, I think its right that all Age of Reason battles be samey, and that some of the issues we had with the game were caused by scale/table size things. I never had the motivation to press especially hard, though.
I decided to paint some remaining French figures I had (all Front Rank) with water based oils again, more or less as experiments. I was not entirely pleased with the results I got; it is clear my technique needs work. They do look well enough though, for a gaming table.
The Grenadier de France were painted a fill in for an elite battalion in Maurice; which is a terrible stretch as they apparently were the Grenadier companies of Militia regiments from all over France. They look fairly pretty though, so I suppose we can accept them.
Behind them is a battalion of Champagne, which are older figures I rebased and supplied new flags for. Fairly certain I did not paint them, and once of the other locals did, but I fear I have no idea who.
I think Champagne are Old Glory, but again am not sure.
Then we have the goofy irregular chaps. Apparently the French Army in the middle of the 18th century was much beset by volunteer irregular regiments, which I am sure were a trail to the classically trained generals. As all such regiments throughout all times, they were uniformed in what their contemporaries could only describe as a bizarre manner.
So here we have the Volunteers Schomberg, wearing the Schomberg hat that would become more and more common in the French army as the century progressed. I must admit I feel constrained to ask “WHY” it became used more; while it may look interesting, it is clearly not as practical for some guy slogging along in the sleet as a hat with a nice wide brim. And it probably rusts.
Never mind, here they are. I am even more unhappy with this paint job than with the Grenadiers. It just does not have the shading I was look for, which is terribly unfortunate as that is why I was using these paints in the first place.
The Breton guys behind have an equally bizarre uniform, with the wrap around hat (mirlton) which was popular among hussars, and once more I only rebased them they were painted by someone else.
Finally we have the hussars. Probably the paint job I’m happiest with, but the bloke who was running the “French” army in the campaign wanted the Grey on Grey and Grey uniforms (Most unhussarlike) so they came out fairly bland. Hussars, in my opinion, should not be bland, they should look like the blokes most likely to start the evening with a lampshade on their heads, or to be in the front row at a rastafarian concert. Or whatever the 18th century equivalents where. They probably involve lots of “s” words like swilling, and swiving and supping….
Never mind, thats just me.
More stuff coming up shortly.
So, one of the locals was complaining we didn’t have enough French troops for our Seven years war extravaganza.
Now we had some French, but we did not like their flags, which were old, and the basic, which was (wait for it) basic. I, on the other hand, had been dissatisfied for
some time with the effect I was getting paining white cloth with acrylics. So I decided to experiment with water based oils (again) to see if I could produce a better effect.
This is the result. Figures are Front Rank (and I would not care to be questioned in court, or by my wife, exactly how old they are) for Picardie, and old glory for Condé in the rear. Flags are linen stiffened with white glue, and painted with acrylics.
For once, for me, I was happy. Now, I need more practice with the oil paints, but for all that was pleased with the result. Need to increase the contrast more, I think.
All the same, think they are ok to look at, and the locals should be able to use ’em without too much complaint.
General der Cavalrie Ferencz looked glumly across the country at the village of Grosser Stuhlgang. It was teeming with Hanoverians, supported by cavalry and guns. The woods, orchards, plowed fields, and farm field walls near it just made it even more impractical to attack. Especially as while his cavalry arm was strong, his infantry was doubtful. Full of bohemians, he thought. There was no manner he could see to assault the place with cavalry, and he was instructed to take the place to secure the crossing over the Danube. The English had rested their right flank on the village. The plains contained the rest of the enemy; infantry with a smallish contingent of cavalry. He feared that the enemy infantry knew what it was about; it looked to be able to do things like march, and dress ranks. More than his crowd appeared to be capable of. Well then, it was to be won, it would have to be on his right. He would deploy his cavalry there, move forward, smash the enemy horse, and move on the flank of the infantry. His motley crew of foot would stay to the rear.
Ed and Mark had a game of Maurice last week; Ed ended up attacking with a cavalry force, using the “Maison De Roi” and “Great Captain” cards; Mark, with the English had the “Lethal Volleys” and “Steady Lads” cards. The English were deployed with one flank on a village and 3 cavalry minding the other side. The Austrians massed 5 units of cavalry and a hussar against the 3 English horse, and held their unimpressive infantry and guns in the middle.
The hussars leapt forward, crossing the field in best Hungarian fashion. In response to their appearance the English cavalry moved forward, prompting the Austrian regular cavalry to do the same.
Seeing his cavalry facing the horde of Austrian horse, Sir Bently ffolkes-Smith, the English commander, moved his infantry forward to engage the Austrian foot, and support his cavalry with the leftmost regiment (they were only Scots, it would not matter much if they were run over by the Austrian horse). Unfortunately the Hanoverian forces on his right did not get the memo about moving forward, so they stood and watched the others. ffolkes-Smith’s report on the action stated the message “went astray”. The memoirs of Graf Count von-und-zu Katzehaarekugel, however, state that the message was soaked into illegibility when the courier, Captain Rupert Fotheringay Upper-Class-Twit, on seeing some ducks in a farm pond in passing, promptly leaped from his horse and spent a quarter of an hour splashing around in the water, waving his elbows with his hands tucked in his armpits and saying “Quack, quack” at the top of voice. However it happened, the Hannoverians stayed put.
It now came down to seeing would the superior Austrian cavalry dispose of their opponents before the british infantry disposed of theirs. It certainly went the Austrian way. The English cavalry was swept away, even including an infantry regiment that had been sent in support. The only loss was the unfortunate cavalry regiment that found itself in front of the highlanders. On the flip side, the Austrian infantry, supported by their guns, proved surprisingly resilient, standing up under the lethal English volleys, and giving very much as good as they got. The Austrian horse rolled up the English flank, and their opponents went down to bitter defeat.
The 2 main comments to be made here, is that we are getting better at this game, and that a spread out defensive deployment is counterproductive if your enemy does not oblige you by attacking a difficult objective; you really lose the use of the units.
On a side note to ffolkes-Smith: attacking when your job is to defend may result in unpredictable results….
The local inciters (not looking at you, Mark) have got very enthusiastic about Maurice. driven to it by their panegyrics, I decided to join 3 of the crew for a two game session.
I found myself playing a more or less Austrian army (2 Elite infantry, 1 Elite Cavalry, 3 Regular infantry, 2 Regular Cavalry, 3 Artillery, 2 Irregular Infantry, with the Skirmishers and Artillery ) against some form of Seydlitz cavalry horde run by Mark (at least 6 units of cavalry, 5 infantry maybe, with 30 points of army cards, I have no idea what). After a scouting roll, I was defending on a rather cluttered field, with a stream and marsh running from my left center to my left. The objective was a village in my right center. I lined up my infantry in the middle, stuck my much weaker cavalry behind them, and garrisoned the village with some grenadiers and the grenzer.
General der Cavalrie von Dullwitz looked across the field at the Prussians across from him. They did not have many more infantry than his force, and it was facing the village he had stuck those damn borderers in. There was a mass of Prussian cavalry facing the body of his line, certainly looking to be better than his 3 scruffy regiments (Where had they got those horses? Some glue factory? Damn Hungarians took all the best ones, and left these for honest Germans). Even with his somewhat short sighted perception of reality, he suspected that 30 years of service in the Records division of the Hohkriegsamt had ill prepared him for what was to come. The only things he saw clearly was that he had no ideas save to hold his position as long as he could, and what exactly General Lacy would do to him and his career if he failed to hold the village. Oh well. He ordered his guns to open fire, and closed his telescope with a decisive snap. Unfortunately lack of practice with the instrument meant the snap was accompanied by a meaty squish as he shut his little finger in the device, so the opening salvo of the artillery was accompanied by swearing and screams as the commanding general fell from his horse.
I had really no idea what to do, not having played before. I decided the traitional “line up and shoot ’em” approach would do for starters. The prussians followed the script, moving their cavalry up to face my infantry line, and moving their infantry en masse toward the village. My bombardment inflicted some disruption on the Prussian cavalry, and I managed to play a couple of bad going cards which dislocated the attack on the village. Long range firing from the Grenze proved a great irritant. The only move I made was to move up the infantry to be parallel with the guns.
The guns were pounding the enemy horse very well, it seemed to von Dullwitz, causing them to halt and re-orgnise quite often. They were perhaps a little far forward, so he ordered up the infantry line to cover them. The border scum were shooting out of the village, and to his delight two Prussian battalions on his far right seemed to have become completely stuck in a plowed field.
Mostly I just fired away. The cards I did use were to impede to Prussian movement and to shoot more and better, rather than taking any action myself. Eventuality the Prussian Wonderritter had had enough of being shot at by artillery and charged across the line, a little before the Prussians hit the village. I had left my guns too near the front, and one got munched up (more would have been lost if we had succeeded at rules reading 101). The infantry did bounce the cavalry though, repeatedly. The assault on the village was rather unfavorable to the Prussians also. After a couple of goes at this, Mark conceded that he could see no way forward, and the game was called.
von Dullwitz jumped and squeaked as firing broke out along the line. All his staff appeared to have been looking the other way and whistling though, so no one had noticed. The glorious Prussian cavalry crashed into hsi infantry line, fell back, and charged again and again. All the time under steady fire. The infantry was holding steady, and part from some gunners running to the rear (Damn artisans, you just could not trust them) it seemed that all would hold. Even those scruffy borderers in the village were holding their own. As the prussian cavalry fell back grudgingly from his infantry, it became clear even to von Dullwitz that he would not have to use his own rather scruffy cavalry to
ensure his personal safety cover the army’s retreat. As darkness fell, it was time to order an extra schnitzel ration all around (except for those damn gunners).
A fun game, all in all. A lot we did wrong, and a little mindbending to realise the effect you have on events is through your card play, not necessarily through moving your soldiers around. I am looking forward to playing a lot more though.