Sunday, 12 August 2018

1807, somewhere in Silesia ...

Kapitän Johan Fuchs looked again at the map scrawled on the tattered paper in front of him. This should be the place - a small hamlet nestled between hills with a dilapidated stone church. The Hapsburg payroll was supposed to be inside the ruinous building, but the place was quiet. There were certainly no white-coated Austrians wandering around the place. Indeed, there didn't appear to be anybody wandering around at all. Maybe it was too quiet. 

To the left, the ruined church which functioned as the Austrian deployment point and the objective for Fuch's Prussians. To the right, the Prussian deployment point in the woods.

Playing Sharp Practice 2,  you never quite know who is going to activate first. The anonymous Austrians commanded by Brett kept having officer chits drawn out, but not deploying. Eventually I got an officer chit to, for Unteroffizier Shultz, my status I jäger seargent. who led his group straight up the right flank, through the woods.

On the far side of the hamlet, an Austrian jäger group then emerged from the woods. They must have been there the whole time, keeping watch over the hamlet.

Schultz took up a position in his little copse of woods at a point where he could keep an eye on the church. Behind his position, on the far side of the small hillock, Cornette Frederick Wilhelm von der Burg (status II) led his patrol of Magdeburg dragoons forward intending to support Shultz's position.

With a mounting Prussian presence on that side of the village, a platoon of Austrian fusiliers deployed from the church, into a firing line pointing at the Prussian skirmishers. In one smooth action, they formed up, presented and opened fire in a well controlled volley. 

When the echo of the volley finally left the little valley, every jäger who advanced with Schultz lay dead or dying in the woods. Schultz himself, whilst still alive, was bleeding badly from a musket shot through his upper leg. The appearance of the Austrian line finally prompted Fuchs to bring on his remaining groups of jäger. They split into two groups to try to pin the Austrians down and, hopefully, remove a couple of officers.

The Austrian jäger however had other planes and started firing at the left-most group of Prussians before they had the chance to fully take cover. Half the group was badly wounded from the single outburst of fire, but the rest of the group took shelter inside one of the buildings.  Fuchs, following his orignal plan, ordered the remaining group to open fire on the white-coats

The Austrian line splits into two groups, one remains outside the church, while the other turns to confront Fuchs in the hamlet. The smaller Prussian group continue to fire at their grey-coated Austrian counterparts from inside the building, but to little effect. 

As the firefight in the hamlet continues, von der Burg's dragoons near the edge of Shultz's woods.

As both Austrian line groups move further into the hamlet, Shultz takes a quick shot of schnaps and busts forward across the open ground towards the church. Von der Burg trots up behind him, providing a bigger target should the Austrians turn back that way.

Schults limps ever closer to the church... 

Fuchs keeps up the pressure on the Austrian line, but one group wheels back to face the Prussian dragoons.

In terrible pain - sure, you can see it on his face! - Schultz make the cove of the far side of the church. The Austrian under-officer eyes up the Prussian cavalry and readies his men... 

.... and leads them in a furious charge round the back of the church. Schultz, already badly wounded, stands no chance and is easily overwhelmed and captured.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Austrian line also turns back and starts firing upon the dragoons. Although they do not suffer enormous casualties, the shock starts to build up until Sabine, Fuch's young mistress and the mascot of his jäger company appears, as if by magic, in their midst and tries to rally their flagging spirits.

The firefight continues. The dragoons, badly shaken, cannot press forward their charge, while the Austrian line, threatened by the dragoons, cannot turn to face the Prussian jäger firing into their flanks.

 At last, the dragoons falter, and flee from the Austrians.

By now, a pall of smoke has gathered around the edge of the hamlet. Fuch pulls his men back for a last stand in the woods, and the Austrian troops turn and start to push their way forward from all quarters. 

One or two rounds were fired after that point, but by then Fuchs' force was reduced to just himself, Hornist Schwartz, Sharpshooter Schnaps and three last men from his jäger detachment. He never did establish if the Austrian payroll was stored in the church - but he also know that there was little left he could do about it that day. 

A damned blooding it was too. The first defeat for Kapitän Fuchs, a poor showing from von der Burg, and the unfortunate capture of Shultz to cap it all off. 

Brett may have done a little victory dance after all that.

Next time Hapsburgs. Next time...


A little while ago, a surprise birthday Kickstarter arrived from Over a the last week, my wee lad and I have been tinkering away and putting it all together.

The kit consists of three mdf sheets of laser cut pieces and a few bags of different sized brass pins,  brass rims for the wheels, some string, some tiny rubberbands of the sort you'd see on bracers, and a wee tiny firing pin. The pieces all fit together beautifully and are held together with the pins - no gluing or hammering in nails. The only glue is used (optionally) to secure the knots in the string. Oh, and a squirt of WD40 (other lubricants are available) to grease up the gear mechanisms.

It really was a great little kit, and both of us enjoyed putting it together. Pushing in the pins required a bit more thumb strength than could be mustered by a seven year old, but he was an awesome help with everything else.

As you can see, it is pretty much the right scale to work with 28mm figures (snow troll and dwarf shown for scale). OK, it might be a tad large, but I'm sure it'll see use as an occasional terrain piece or focus of a scenario.

And to finish off - here is the first test firing... 🙈 Did I mention it is a proper wee torsion piece which uses twisted string to provide the power.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Hear the bellow of the Bull of the Sea - Bronze Age l'Art de la Guerre (in 6mm)

This week we finally managed a game of ADG with our first Bronze Age armies. Together with Jim and Joel, I led the mighty Minoan/Mycenaean forces of Minos in a daring raid on the Libyan coast. Our army, arrayed to the left in the photo above, consisted of:

Left wing allied Myrmidons (Joel):
Heavy chariot (incl. competent commander), mediocre medium cavalry, 2x elite medium impact swordsmen, 2x light infantry archers.

Centre Minoan chariotry (Jim):
4x elite heavy chariots (incl. competent commander), 2x medium spearmen with missile support and pavises, 2x light infantry javelineers.

Right wing Minoan spearmen (me):
Heavy chariot (incl. competent commander), 5x heavy spearmen with missile support and pavises, 3x light infantry archers, 2 x light infantry slingers.

The New Kingdom Egyptian army looked something like:

Left wing (Andrew facing me)
6x light chariot archers (incl. competent commander), 1x donkey scouts.

Centre (Lee facing Jim)
Ordinary commander, 6x medium spearmen, 6x mediocre bowmen.

Right wing (Steve facing Joel) 
Ordinary commander, 2x Sherden heavy swordsmen, 4x sherden medium swordsmen, 2x Lybiam medium swordsmen, 2x Syro-Canite light infantry javelineers.
My noble fellow commanders eating the buns of kings - literally. I suspect they were made of the ground up remains of enemy kings scraped from the bronze rims of our chariot wheels...

The opening turns saw the two forces advance towards each other. Despite having 25 units, the Minoan line was quite compact. Half of the infantry were skirmishers who were deployed in a screen in front of their medium and heavy brethren. The 'Gyptian line suffered a bit by having 29 units and two novice commanders. They also deployed in deeper formations, but not in a way that was to prove overly effective.

The 'Gyptian chariot corp spread out far to their left with the donkey scouts out front. 

Being outnumbered and less manoeuvrable than the sons of the Nile, my Minoan right flank started wheeling right to take up a defensive line. There was a real and pressing possibility at this point that the Minoan camp (with its open-bodiced priestesses) was in danger of sacking. 

The commander of the Minoan infantry - and the king of Phaistos in his own right - turned to the right in an attempt to stop the Gypo donkey riders from gaining access to the camp. 

The opposing centres come face-to-face. The elite heavy chariots easily weathered the shower of mediocre archery, although the Libyan mercenary skirmishers screening the Minoan medium spearmen did take a hit each.

On our left flank, the Myrmidons also refused the flank as they were faced by a much larger force of Sherdana. 

An overview of the battle shortly before it became a bit bloody. Behind the Egyptian line of archers, the medium spearmen have turned into column and started marching to their left to threaten the Minoan spearmen and free up the chariots for some fancy footwork.

But then the Minoan nobles charged. Seeing Minos, Priest-king of Knossos, High king of Crete and Lord of the Islands hold aloft his his bronze labrys - you know, the double axe thingy - the archers facing him dropped their bows and ran for it. Elsewhere along the line, the archers all got the worst of the fighting. Seeing their comrades flee, some of the Egyptian spearmen also lost heart.

Over on our right, the king of Phaistos charged at the 'Gyptian donkey scouts who evaded. Right off the table. Unfortunately that did leave him rather out in the open.

Choosing to avoid the Minoan chariotry, the Egyptian spearmen continue to column their way towards the Minoan spear wall. Meanwhile, the Minoan slingers and archers fire off a couple of volleys at the Pharaoh's chariots. 

Pharaoh Ramses then charged home against the king of Phaistos, leaving three chariots behind to shoot a bot at the Minoan skirmishers.

Back in the centre, the remaining Gypo archers fled before Minos and his chariots.

Despite being taken in the flank, the Minoan heavy chariot general (and king of Phaistos...) won his combat, disordered the Egyptian Pharaoh and turned to continue the fight. In the background, you can see the hits accumulating as the Egyptian chariots and Minoan skirmishers exchange fire.

The Minoan spearmen then charged home against the shooty chariots, while one unit of skirmishers rushed to the aid of their king, sliding into a combat against the Pharaoh's own flank. Here, we may have all overlooked the fact that light chariots can evade. In retrospect it would only have delayed the inevitable, but still..

The remaining spearmen wheel back to guard against the approaching column of Egyptian infantry.

Way over on the Minoan left flank, other stuff was happening too! The Myrmidons crashed into a line of Sherdan mercenaries while a second line of Sherdana turned into column to march right and save the collapsed Egyptian centre.

Everywhere the dust rises as thousands of feet march, counter-march and lead their owners to vicious close-quarters fighting. In almost all cases, the dice gods favour the Minoan lords of Crete and their well-oiled men.

The king of Phaistos kills Pharaoh Ramses as the chariot line facing the Minoan spearmen collapses in a jumbled heap of dead horses, mangled chariots and the odd hubcap rolling off into the distance.

... and that was that. The Egyptians were tipped well over their breaking point. In the final round of melee, the Minoans did lose two units, an elite heavy chariot (attacked in the front and flank by medium spearmen) was destroyed in the centre, and a Myrmidon skirmisher was killed by the two Syro-Canaanite javelin-armed skirmishers over on the far left.

A resounding victory for the sons of Minoan Crete and their might king, Minos, the Bull of the Sea. I think Egypt is going to need a new Pharaoh...

Considering three of us have played quite a few games, but none very recently, and three had never played, I think we remembered most things - with the exception of evading light chariots and impetuous Sherdana. We got to field massive armies (for us); we got previously unused armies on the table; and all six of us enjoyed the evening. I'd say it was rather a success.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Pendraken Painting Competition 2018

Well, it's that time of year again - Pendraken Painting Competition time. Below are my entries for this year, all pulled from my son's Legion of Super Evil army that I did for him earlier in the year.

So, my entry is in. Is yours?