Friday, 16 February 2018

The Battle of Helmantica 1704

Last Tuesday I had another game using Beneath the Lily Banners at Oldmeldrum Wargames Group. Andy and I continued our mini campaign with his Danes driving further in to the territory of their foes, following up the Bavarians as they retreated from the scene of the previous battle.

I picked a disguised scenario from One Hour Wargames by Neil Thomas, itself based on one of Charles Grants which was based on Salamanca....that's about as covertly disguised as you can get!

Helmantica is the name of the original settlement near to the site of what would become Salamanca.

Andy's Danes advanced down the road in column heading for the town which their scouts had told them was held by the a token Bavarian force.  For two turns they advanced, getting closer and closer while my dice throwing meant that I was unable to activate any units. (Normally one would be activated, but for this scenario it was actually pretty apt that none were!).  As they closed on the town the Danes swung off the road and brought up their gun, where the hell were the rest of my troops!

The Bavarians put their battalion gun into action and sent the first round sailing between the ears of the horse drawing the Danish artillery. Their second took the head off  one of the gunners but it was going to be an uneven fight if this continued.

Then on the hills on the west side of the table the tops of banners could be seen and the Danes began to glance nervously over their shoulders, they'd been flanked. Regiments Maffey and the straggling French infantry of Touraine and Anjou appeared supported by a squadron of dragoons and another of cuirassiers.

The Danes hastily limbered up their gun and withdrew back up the road, their infantry halting and trying to wheel into line while their cavalry closed the end of their formation and protected their rear. This was all accomplished with a degree of calm and order which seemed to unsettle the men of regiment Touraine, and some were observed dropping their muskets and running from the field (I had  draw a "cowardly unit" event card and 25% of them legged it!). Loud curses were heard in German but with 5 units on the flank, one in the town and a battalion gun free to play on the Danes, the Bavarians still had the advantage


Rgt Spilberg advanced from the town, supported by its battalion gun and fired on the Danish unit to its front, the killing had began.

On the hills the Bavarian cavalry swept down, crashing into the Danish cavalry before they could move. Somehow however the dragoons found themselves facing armoured cuirassier while their own cuirassier faced the opposing horse. Danish morale held and many toppled from the saddles but they wore the red and grey of Bavarian men not the Danes. The attack had failed and over 50% of the Germans had been slain. It was a disaster.

By now regiments Anjou, Touraine and Maffey had closed to within musket range and the engagement was general across the field. The Danes had unlimbered their heavy gun which tore gaps in the French, but the Danish guards were taking casualties to their front and flank.  The decisive moment of the battle had been reached. Both the guards and their attackers from Rgt Spilberg had lost a stand but when it came to morale checks the former passed and the latter rolled a 1 - unable to stomach more losses they turned and headed back to the town in rout.  On the hills Rgt Anjou was forced to withdraw, recovered briefly and then took more casualties and  routed and suddenly the tide was turned. The Danes had the upper hand and now marginally outnumbered the Germans.

The Danish horse chased the remaining Bavarian cavalry from the field and sent a squadron galloping down the road to hound Spilberg into the town, eventually riding down the battalion gunners and sabering the men of Spilberg in the streets. 

There was no option but to withdraw, Touraine covered Maffey and the two remaining regiments retreated up the slopes. The battle was over.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Beneath the Lily Banners - Encounter at the Ford

We've been working our way through the BTLB rules since I picked up a copy of the 1ed cheaply on the Lead Adventure Forum. The 3rd edition is on its way so it seemed like a good time to play some games and learn the basics whilst building up our armies.

We've played a few games over the last couple of months and really enjoy them. This edition suffers a bit from some information being scattered over different pages and the QRS as well as different systems for morale for horse and foot, but it's hitting the spot and I'm checking daily to see when the new book is out

So we threw some terrain on the table and got things going....

The Allied army and that of the Franco-Bavarians were advancing towards each other. Both sides has sent and advance guard to seize a key ford and as a result an encounter between the two was triggered. 

The Bavarian force consisted of two regiments of foot, a medium gun, squadron of cuirassiers and a squadron of dragoons. The Danes had three foot, 1 squadron of horse and a medium gun.  Two French regiments, supposedly supporting the Bavarians had gotten lost somewhere and would not arrive til the following day! - the post was late getting them back from the painters!).

The Danes moved quickly to occupy a small farm house and field closest to the crossing whilst they brought up their remaining troops. The Bavarians moved in line of march along the road to the ford, dispatching their mounted contingent to engage and cover their right flank. Their gun deployed in front of the ford and Rgt Spilberg to its right,  which d the cover of a hedge. Rgt Maffey moved behind these units to take up position on the right, but would be thwarted from doing so by the fast moving Danes,

The Danish unit at the farm came under fire from Rgt Spilberg and the now dismounted Dragoons, a galling fire which caused it to retreat after a stand was now the guns were firing and the second Danish unit was taking hits, however the gun crew were in range of Danish muskets and were starting to be picked off. Rgt Maffey was forced to halt, its men formation split by a hedge.

The dragoons now moved up and occupied the farm but Spilberg was taking hits from the Danish gun and could not reply since the Bavarian gun crew had all been killed. However two Danish foot had been forced to retire due to mounting casualties and the crisis of the battle had been reached.

Desperate times called for desperate measures. Spilberg retreated from its position behind the hedge, it was well on the way to suffering 2 bases lost and the dragoons were still in place across the ford. Maffey was holding up and the Danes were becoming worn out. However the Danish horse had still not been engaged and launched a desperate change on the flank of Maffey. A one was rolled for Maffey's morale ....and it too was forced back. 

With both Bavarian foot regiments in retreat and the artillerymen killed there was nothing the dragoons could do and they had to mount up and retire as well, taking the in engaged curiassier with them. The Danes, though badly cut up, had secured the ford.


As we're still building up our forces we used some other figures for the Danes, just bluetacked to 60mm Bases. Each unit will have an additional casualty marker - a drummer, sgt or some other figure, to carry the hits of the unit. You can see the Bavarian ones here. All in all it was a great game, a good test of the rules and showed that not every battle has to be Blenheim! 
More games to follow....the French arrived yesterday

Sunday, 4 February 2018

AMG Forum gone but not forgotten

My favourite forum is closed for the foreseeable. The AMG forum was opened by John Ray, Author of "A Military Gentleman of the18th Century". John's book showcased his superbly sculpted 18th Century figures with excellent line drawings and a wonderful back story. There's been nothing like it in the hobby before and I doubt if there will be again. The book was a limited edition self published print, however some copies surface from time to time. If you ever have the chance to buy one, do so, you will not be disappointed.

As a spin off from the book, John invited those who owned a copy to join his forum. A chance for those to delve deeper into the world of his hobby and see more of his sculpting and games. The forum was also an excellent place to share information and gain inspiration from the projects its members were working on and spawned meetings between members, two of which I had the pleasure and privilege to attend and I am looking forward to another gathering later this year.

John worked hard to keep the forum going, despite the hosts having a few technical issues, but it closed prior to christmans and I had my fingers crossed that it would reopen. Sadly it hasn't.

Thanks John for all your hard work. It will be, as they say in these parts, sair missed!

I will wait til the see how the alternatives pan out, but I am tempted to set something up myself, if there is any interest amongst ex-members who visit here????

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Regiment Tattenbach

Flagged up and base completed.

I quite enjoyed painting these. They needed a little more work than metal figs but I'm happy with them. One down and six more to go!

My box arrived from Warlord so I have all the pieces I need for my foot, horse and guns. I may break the monotony by sprinkling in the odd foundry/casting room character figure just to add some variety. We'll see how they match up.

The regiment if based for Beneath The Lily Banners which we play tested a couple of weeks ago. I quite enjoyed it, although I am now really tempted by all the late 17thC figures and have been buying up some book for the period - John Tincey's introductory Osprey on the British Army of 1660-1704 and Stephen Ede-Borrets Army of James II which I saw in Foyles recently and picked up on Amazon. Somewhere I have a few of John Child's books on the period which I have to say is much more visually appealing (and sensible in scale) than Marlborough's campaigns. I used to have a small 15mm army for Donnington Miniatures, inspired by Mark Allen's excellent articles in Wargames Ilustrated years ago, (hi Mark, hope you're fine!). My interest wasn't followed up by anyone else at my local club then so after a couple of DBR Games I stopped collecting them.

The trouble is now I've got no excuse....

The expedition to Virginia in 1677 would make an great what if campaign.....Uhoh !!

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Holiday time

Time for a wee break, a deserved one I think! Off to NYC for a few days and back just in time for the festive non denominational solstice period not back to work until 3rd Jan.

Last week I managed to finish the first of my Bavarian units for the Marlburian period and do a couple more swedes....I think I'm gonna need more blue!

The Warlord sprues have been reorganised from the original WF version with lots more formal tricorns. The plastic seems to have changed to a harder version too, things will bend, but you'll get that white stress mark if it does. Other than that they are the same, with the slightly soft detail levels and bulging eyes. With some a few changes to my normal technique however they painted up fine.

Just waiting on some flags and to do the basing. The drummer will take casualty dice frames at the back of his base and sit behind the unit.

Oh and the rest of the figures?..... a delay by Triplehelix resulted in a refund which coincided with a drop in price and a 15% voucher deal with Warlord....result one happy Aberdonian ;-)