Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Kargopol Horse Grenadiers Completed

Kargopol Horse Grenadiers (1st squadron) of the SYW Russian Army.

I finished and based the first squardron of 12 Russian horse grenadiers to represent the Kargopol Horse Grenadier Regiment in the Russian Army.

Kargopol Horse Grenadiers

Recall that the majority of the figures are RSM horse grenadiers and Fife & Drum horses, save for the three command figures (officer, standard bearer and trumpeter) which are Minden Hanoverian Horse regiment figures that have had their heads swapped for the RSM Russian mitre.

I have one more squadron of 12 figures to paint in order to complete the regiment this week. This is the first regiment of cavalry in my Russian army.

Toy Soldier Update
I had a rather active weekend on eBay, purchasing more toy soldiers, mostly some Britains and Trophy of Wales 54mm figures. As the new figures are delivered, I will take photographs and post some pictures of the reinforcements.

I have decided to focus my toy soldier collection on a couple of areas, rather than just purchasing any old thing. In the Trophy of Wales/Under Two Flags collection I will occaisionally augment the British Colonial forces with eBay acquisitions.

In the Britains category, I plan on collecting French Foreign Legion figures and Arab opponents for one thing, then Gordon Highlanders in another category, and finally, one of the British Guard regiments, probably the Coldstream Guards. I made some significant acquisitions in all of the categories within both figure ranges, so I am looking forward to seeing how all of the new soldiers look when they are assembled together on the parade ground.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Toy Soldiers in the Sudan - Part II

The "lost cavalry" arrives. Bikkaner Camel Corps (top left), 21st Lancers (top right) and Mountain Battery (top center). Click on all pictures once or twice to enlarge the view.

But wait, there's more! Yesterday I was wondering if I would ever be able to find all of the Sudan cavalry and Dervish and the Boxer Rebellion figures - EVER :0  Well, as you can see in these pictures, perserverance paid off and I finally found the missing box.

In some respects, it was not a pretty sight as shown in the picture below. This is (was) a huge square of Steadfast Toy Soldiers and actually they are in better condition than you would think, based on the picture. Only a few rifles and bayonets are bent and twisted as most survived the storage. 

Steadfast British in the Mess Hall?
Below is a picture of the Mother Lode of Sudan Dervish and Fuzzies including some spectacular Dervish cavalry and camelry from Alymer of Spain. The fellows in the white coats in front are from the Trophy Boxer Rebellion range: Austrian sailors in the front left, Russians in white coats, caps and green trousers on the right. Behind the Russians are some sailors in blue wearing straw hats : these are British sailors, I think. Since I don't have shelf space for this lot, they will all be carefully repacked, repairs made if needed, and stored away in a place where I can find them.

I finally found the box containing all of the Boxer Rebellion and Sudan Cavalry and Camelry figures. These will probably be repacked and returned to storage.

Here is a picture of the left hand book case.  Some amazing Plantagenet Knights made for the Higgins Armour Museum are on display in the top two rows. Underneath them are the British Colonila artillery sections. The very top shelf contains ACW books - lots of Bruce Catton books that my Father owned and gave to me. It was his deep interest in the ACW that stirred my interest in history and ultimately led me to lead soldiers. Dad liked to visit the ACW battlefields and he took the family along with him when he made his trips to the battlefield sites. It was really a treat to follow him as he led me across the fields and explained what had happened there.

The left hand set of bookshelves store the artillery on the lower shelf and some Plantagenet Miniatures knights circa Agincourt on the top two shelves.

Some amazing knights representing the English and French at the Battle of Agincourt are the subject of the limited edition of Plantagenet knights, circa late 1980s. I found my first sets of these figures either at the Burlington Arcade or the Under Two Flags shop, both in London. These figures are shown primarily on the very top shelf below. Then Higgins Armoury commissioned a limited edition set (I was subscriber Number 8) of knights that were in more actionable poses, as seen in the center and bottom rows. They were expensive even back then and I had to cancel my subscription after receiving the first five sets. I was back in graduate business school and did not have as much disposable income as I had prior to going back to school. I really regret that I did not stick it out and remain in the subscription. I wonder how many other sets Plantagenet made?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Toy Soldiers Go To The Sudan

Seaforth Highlanders from Under Two Flags in square.

I liked the window display so much, that I bought the whole thing!

I was inspired by my reminiscence about toy soldiers the other day to dig my collection out of storage and see what I had. All of the figures shown are either "Under Two Flags" brand sold by the old store (long since closed) or from "Trophy of Wales". Both ranges were designed by the same sculptor; I think his name was Len Barker.

The first task was to clear off some shelf space to hold all of the figures and the only place in the house that was suitable for the display happened to be the book shelves in our Living Room (also known as "The Room Only Used At Christmas or When Company Comes to Visit"). I thought that this would be a simple task, only an hour or so, right? The whole project ended up taking four or five hours of my time on friday evening. Yikes!

Book cases showing part of the toy soldier collection.
The first task was to remove books from the shelves and pile them up on the floor. I decided that each book case would continue to hold books on the very top shelf for several reasons: first of all, nobody would be able to see any of the miniatures on the top shelf; and second, it looks nice to have some books on the shelves, and with the top shelf used for books in each book case, it sort of ties the whole thing together visually. 

Various artillery pieces and crew (click to enlarge to read the card on the right(
 You might want to click on the picture above and examine some of the books on the bottom shelf, but of greater interest is the Christmas card that my wife gave to me, circa 1996, which I still find hilarious. I am a big fan of The Saint series of books by Leslie Charteris, as you might glean from the picture above.

A closer view of one of the bookshelves.
I think that the collection goes back to around 1982, when I was visiting London and happened to walk past a store called "Under Two Flags". The window display had a square of Seaforth Highlanders fending off the Dervish in the Sudan. I hadn't looked at toy soldiers since about the end of 8th Grade, when my old Britains were packed away or lost or something. At any rate, the window display at Under Two Flags really caught my attention and brought back a lot of good memories about toy soldiers.

So what did I do? I walked into the store and declared my desire to purchase the entire window display of Seaforth Highlanders and Dervish. On a second trip to London, I bought some 21st Lancers and after that, the Under Two Flags range of figures were no longer produced. However, the same sculptor started his own enterprise called Trophy of Wales. They were a little larger than the UTF figures, but stylistically they matched up for obvious reasons (same sculptor).

I was in my twenties, single and had nothing better to spend my disposable income on, so I bought more and more Trophy figures. The company had a US distributor, James Hillestead, who lived in Upstate New York and had a company called The Toy Soldier. James and I became good acquaintances and we would talk on the phone at least once a month as he would give me the low down on the upcoming Trophy figure releases.

Most of my figures represent British troops that fought in the Sudan campaigns against the Dervish, although I did purchase a couple of units that fought on the Northwest Frontier of India. Take a look at some of the figures below and be sure to click on each picture to enlarge the view.

British Camel Corps (left) and a regiment wearing the iconic red coat.
Troops from the army in India, Northwest Frontier. Some of the British regiments  wore a grey tunic in India.

A camp scene - bakery, bread ovens, watering cart, campfire and staff meeting.
Trophy of Wales started working on little vignettes, a number of which can be seen in the above picture. These were always fun little sets to acquire: camp life scenes for the most part or logistical support teams.

Another British regiment wearing the field service khaki uniform.
So last night, after about five hours of moving books and shelves, I finally had most of the collection out on the shelves. As I unwrapped them from their storage boxes, I could see from the newspapers used for storage tissue that the figures had been packed away in 2004. In other words, these lads hadn't seen the light of day in over 12 years!

I knew that I was missing some figures, as I couldn't find any of the cavalry figures that I know I had. However, I was finally able to find the third of four boxes this afternoon and there indeed was the British cavalry and some camel mountain gun crews and more Dervish. Also a lot of Boxer Rebellion Austrian, Russian,  and some British sailors were in Box Number 3. I will probably repack the Boxer Rebellion and some of the Dervish as I am running out of shelf space. Imagine that! Then I realized that there has to be a fourth box somewhere in the basement because I recall having a large contingent of Victorian Age civilians and none of them were in any of the previous opened boxes. I am sure that they will eventually turn up though.

I also have a handful of 54mm Agincourt knights from a company called Plantagenet Miniatures. These were some of the best looking figures that I have EVER seen in any size or scale. I will post some pictures of the knights in a future thread.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Russian Horse Grenadiers WIP

Kargopol Horse Grenadiers Work In Progress (now clickable)

I am making good progress on the first dozen Russian horse grenadiers that I started at the beginning of this week. The riders are nearly finished, save for some minor shading of the flesh and um, oh, ah something called eyes - but who needs those. 

Last evening I painted the horses: black undercoat, followed by Burnt Umber and highlighted with Ruddy Brown ( it has an orangish tint to it), both of which are Reaper paints. I then painted all of the leather work on the horses black and expect to finish them off this evening. The work in progress picture shown above depicts the figures before I started working on the horses. I should be able to update the pictures tonight.

I have decided that the next dozen horse grenadiers will have their swords attached to their right hand. It is a tedious task, but the figures probably look better with the swords. 

With a three day holiday weekend coming up there is a decent chance that I can finish the whole 24-figure regiment by Memorial Day Monday.

Toy Soldier Stories
By the way, I really had fun writing yesterday's post about Toy Soldiers and I especially liked the comments and feedback from you, the readers. Please feel free to share any of your own stories and experiences about Toy Soldiers on that thread. Most of it was written as a stream of consciousness piece that I typed while on the commuter train to work yesterday. The story sort of wrote itself.

I will be sure to post some more threads about Toy Soldiers in the near future as I explore the world of Airfix HO WW2 figures, Rocco Mini Tanks, Texaco Tankers, and ( sad to say) gasoline.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Toy Soldiers

I found this picture on Pinterest awhile ago and there is something about its composition that keeps me coming back again and again. I think that it is the combination of old toy soldiers (and ones with red coats and kilts at that) and old leather bound books. This is definitely Man Cave material here.

The toy soldiers have a Britains look to them, but the bases appear to be too thick, so maybe they are Heyde figures from Germany? Whatever they are, they have a well worn patina of time and considerable use on some young boy's floor games. We used to play with our 54mm toy soldiers on the floor where we had unlimited space to move them around. Also, they remained upright easier when played with on the floor. ( I didn't have to worry about sore knees and pulling back muscles when I was ten years old.

I used to have one of these Elastolin castles that came with Prince Valiant plastic figures that were approximately 25-30mm.

Ten years old. 1962. I think that's when it all started. My grandparents had just returned from a vacation in England and they bought a box of William Britain & Sons Household Cavalry (5 per box) and a box of Grenadier Guards. Both were in those wonderful red cardboard boxes with the paper label on the box cover. I augmented the collection by saving up my allowance until I had enough to buy another box. I'm trying to recall the price for a basic infantry box of 8 figures. Was it $2.50 or $5.00? Something like that.

I divided my figures into two armies: the metal Britains were The Good Guys and the Green Army Men, Herald and Timpo plastic ACW figures, and in fact, anything plastic, were the Bad Guys or The Barbarians.

In 1963 my parents took us on a ten week vacation to Europe ( well, mostly it was my Mom and Aunt Pearl - the latter was quite a hoot- my Dad only stayed for two weeks and had to return back to the States to go to work). We were spending the night at Evesham. It was there that I found a toy store with a bunch of Swoppets War of the Roses plastic figures and my Dad bought about a dozen of these for me. I played with them for the rest of the trip. I wish that I still had some of my old Swoppets.

They were really cool toy soldiers. All of the plastic swords had their own metal scabbards. You could put pole arms, shields or swords in each figure's hands, you could swap torsos with the other figures. In a word, you could just let your imagination run wild. Of course, a lot of the bits and pieces would eventually get lost, so a couple of the figures would end up being used for their parts.

I started giving Britains metal soldiers to friends for their birthday presents in order to recruit some opponents. One friend, Tony M., had a rich grandmother who would buy him anything, so Tony soon had the largest metal Britains army on the block, mostly Arabs and British Colonial red coats. Tony soon got tired of playing with toy soldiers and moved on to other things. This was too early for "girls" to be those other things, so maybe it was sports that ended his career as a floor general.

Then there was Tom P., whose grandmother was one of the descendants of the Kraft Cheese family and she likewise showered her grandson with unlimited quantities of Britains toy soldiers. Hmm, something about those rich grandmothers always throwing a wrench into my plans for world domination.

At any rate, Tom P. acquired the 200-300 piece Changing of the Guard set from Britains for his birthday and that knocked me down a peg or two in the pecking order. I was demoted to Duke from King. Sigh....  Tom always had to one up me don't you know. I would buy a model airplane and then a couple of weeks later he would have a whole squadron of airplanes. And so it went.

I had fun anyway because Tom had more toy soldiers than you could shake a stick at and it was always a great joy to go to his house and see what new editions had flown in from Grandma Kraft. And so our floor battles got bigger and bigger with hundreds of metal and plastic figures lined up in marching order and ready for battle. We always played on the same side: Tom and I versus The Barbarians, or once in awhile, Tom's older brother Michael played the Bad Guys against us. Michael had a large collection of metal Swiss Guards that were made in France. I don't recall the brand ( it wasn't Mignot or one of the expensive French toy soldier ranges), but they were spectacular. 

Our games got so big that we would have to schedule a sleep over at Tom's house on a Friday night. I would go to his house after school and we would set up the battle and then break for Dinner. Mrs P. Was quite a good cook, so there was always a great dinner in the offing. After dinner, we would watch The Man From Uncle on television and then head to the play room to start the battle. It would carry over to Saturday morning and we were always successful at defending Civilization from the Barbarian Hoard of plastic soldiers.

The Barbarian Leader was Turk - one of the Marx Warriors of the World 60mm hard plastic soldiers. Turk was a WW2 American GI sergeant who was posed wildly waving his revolver over his head. Since Turk stood a few millimeters taller than the other Barbarians, he became their leader, the nĂºmero uno of Bad Guys. Turk had a Harry Flashman quality to him in that his army could get wiped out week after week, but Turk would manage to escape somehow and live to fight another day.

Rules? We didn't have any. We just used common sense. If a hoard of plastic Barbarians was charging Tom's French Foreign Legion with Maxim Machine Gun, well then it was obvious that most of them would get mowed down. If the hoard was particularly large, it might overwhelm a company of metal Britains soldiers. We never had any arguments and the system seemed to work just fine.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!

SYW Russian Brigade (click to enlarge the view)

Well, sort of, they will be here eventually as part of the Minden Miniatures figure range, but Fritz doesn't like to wait so He has started building his own Russian army using various Minden French, Crann Tara Piedmont, and RSM Russian figures to cobble an army together.

By the way, Minden already has two different Russian artillery crews and four different cannon models in the range. We also have the Marshal Fermor personality figure. The Russian musketeers and grenadiers are next in the sculpting queue so hopefully we will see some greens by the end of the Summer.

Yesterday I decided that I wanted to start on a regiment of Russian Horse Grenadiers. RSM makes the mounted trooper, but no command figures. So I used some Minden Hanoverian Horse command figures and swapped heads with some RSM Russian horse grenadiers to create the following command figures:

Horse Grenadier Conversions: Hanoverian Horse Command figures with head swaps from the RSM Horse Grenadier figures.

Another view of the horse grenadier conversions. In addition to the head swaps, I also used some green putty to fill in the jacket open of the trumpeter and standard bearer since they wore "single breasted" buttons down the front of the coat, whereas the officers wore a normal looking military coat without lapels.

Pictured below are a couple of photos of my first painted Horse Grenadier sample, done last evening before going to bed. I made one mistake on the painting: the horse furniture should be a fawn yellow color so I will have to go back and repaint it. All horse grenadier regiments have the fawn yellow horse furniture, all dragoons have cornflower blue horse furniture, and all cuirassiers have red horse furniture. That makes it sort of easy to paint, doesn't it?

RSM Horse Grenadier Trooper with a Minden medium officer's horse.

Same as the first picture, but seen from the reverse side. The sword has to be glued on separately and is kind of a pain in the derriere to work with, so I only glued swords onto one trooper and left the other 8 troopers open handed. I also left off the carbine, which should be on the right side behind the hand holding the sword.

I also swapped out the smaller RSM horses for some of the Minden medium horses walking, and I think that the two make for a perfect match. I really like the way that the sample figure turned out - I always paint one figure of a unit complete before tackling the rest of the unit because I want to see how it will turn out and find out if there are any difficult bits to paint. The finished figure then provides me with a sort of painting template to use on the rest of the figures.

I'm looking forward to starting painting of the horse grenadier command figures to see how the conversion works looks when painted.

What is next?
I might be able to make a 12-figure squadron of Russian dragoons using the excess horse grenadier bodies and the tricorned Hanoverian officer heads, but that is a lot of work.

After completing 24 horse grenadiers, I might tackle some RSM Cossacks, which look very nice, but put them on Minden or Fife & Drum light horses rather than RSM horses. The Minden horses kind of bring a certain uniformity to the project, which I like. I was looking at some of my old Connoisseur Russian Cossacks and these are small and thin enough to use with the RSM and Minden figures too.

I have to paint several more Russian gun crews to man my howitzers. One interesting item that I gleaned from Christopher Duffy's lecture on the Russian army at this year's SYWA Convention, was that the Shuvulov Howitzers were used as battalion guns because they were so effective at close range. So I might have to use Secret Howitzers for all of my battalion guns.

Russian vs. Prussian Actions, Encounters and Kleine Krieg in the East
I have been perusing Kronoskaf frequently in order to build up some knowledge about the Russian theater of war during the SYW. I'm finding that there was actually quite a bit of action going on in between the big battles (Gross Jagersdorf, Zorndorf, Kay and Kunersdorf). I always wondered what was going on in Poland during the SYW. The answer: quite a lot of small actions, raids and battles that might have been, but were never fought.

For example, in 1761 the Prussians sent a large "raiding force" of 20,000 men under Zieten to close in on Posen and destroy the Russian supply magazines there. They got close, but had to retire back to Breslau so as not to get cut off by the main Russian army.  In 1758 I believe, there was an opportunity for the Prussians to defeat the Russian army in detail near Posen and if General Dohna had been a little bit more enterprising, he might have defeated three different Russian columns had he moved faster, but by the time he got his army moving, the Russians had consolidated their army to full size.

There is even an incident where the Prussians, under Platen, went into Poland on a cattle raid and had a cattle drive of 200-300 cattle plus an equal number of sheep! Wouldn't that make for a fun scenario, a Western Cowboy style cattle drive in 18th Century Poland-Pomerania.

Comments Are Greatfully Received (and requested, please)
Finally, I hope that I can encourage my readers to leave some comments after reading this blog entry. Here is a little secret: blog authors crave receiving and reading comments. This blog is so much better when it can be a little bit interactive. I know that a lot of readers choose to be "lurkers", i.e. people who like to read the blog, but maybe are too shy to engage in commenting. Don't be shy, leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Old Glory 1805 Russians - from a different era.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Battle of Weissenfels Report

The Band of Brothers fighting the Battle of Weissenfels. Der Alte Fritz Himself is in the front row in the olive green cardigan. BAR rules author Bill Protz on the far left second row, with baseball cap.
On Saturday May 14, 2016 a group of ten wargamers converged on the town of Woodstock, IL to revive the annual Big Battalion SYW Game. We hadn't done one of these games for a couple of years now and Bill Protz and I both agreed that it was time to put on a big show again. If you click on the label "Big Battalion Game" at the end of this article, or click on the same named label in the left hand column of this page, you will be able to find all of our previous Big Battalion Games.

The Back Story to the Battle
Today's scenario was loosely based on the Napoleonic battle of Aspern-Essling in 1809, however, it was transferred back in time to 1758. The back story was that with Frederick off to the east fighting the Russians at Zorndorf, the Allies (France, Austria and Saxony) decided that it was an opportune time to invade the Brandenburg heartland from the west. Accordingly, French Marshal Soubise joined forces with the Austrian General von Loudan in wesetern Saxony, west of the Elbe River and one of its tributaries the Saale River. However, Frederick caught wind of the invasion plans and hurried part of his army back from Zorndorf, meeting up with a contingent of Prussians, commanded by Prinz Moritz of Anhalt Dessau, just to the south of Berlin. 

Frederick endeavored to quickly march west and intercept the Allies and bring them to battle. The campaign covered much of the same territory as the Rossbach campaign in 1757, so Frederick knew the territory very well. The Saale River proved to be an obstacle to the Prussians, with the French having destroyed most of the bridges at various crossing points. Frederick knew from experience, that the Saale was crossable at Weissenfels. So by forced march, the Prussian reached Weissenfels before the Allies and Frederick's engineer quickly threw a couple of pontoon bridges across the Saale. The Prussians had managed to shift half of their army across the river when Soubise, exercising a bit of unexpected initiative, ordered an all out assault on the Prussian bridge head, hoping to trap the Prussians against the Saale.

The Prussians occupied two key towns on the west bank of the Saale: Altenburg - on the Prussian left flank, and Eisenberg - on the Prussian right flank. Prussian Major General von Hulsen commanded the contingent of troops defending Altenburg and Prinz Moritz was charged with defending Eisenberg plus a neighboring town of Schaumburg. General of the Cavalry von Seydlitz guarded the bridge head in the center of the Prussian line with a brigade of cavalry and a battery of ferocious 12-pound Brummers guarding the pontoon bridges.

Here are some pictures of the key defensive positions of the Prussian deployment, west of the Saale River.

The village of Altenburg (Prussian left flank) - click to enlarge.
Prussian bridgehead is established on the west bank of the River Saale.

The village of Eisenburg on the Prussian right flank.

Another view of Eisenburg, with Prussian horse artillery deployed outside of the town.

Scenario Information
The game was played using Bill Protz's rules, "Batailles dans l'Ancien Regime" (or BAR for short) with 28/30mm infantry battalions and cavalry regiments using a 1:10 figure to man ratio. This means that one casting/soldier figure represent ten actual men. Infantry battalions were mostly 60 figures based in three ranks (as the soldiers actually were formed) and cavalry squadrons were 12 figures, leading to some five squadron regiments having 60 horse and riders.

The game sequence in the rules is 1) movement, 2) contact into melee, and 3) firing. A deck of cards is used to determine which side gets to move and fire first. For example, a black card (Prussian) would be drawn at the start of the turn and so all Prussian units could move or declare charges. Once all the troops have moved, another card is drawn from the deck to see which side gets to fire first. As a result, there is a certain randomness to the movement and firing. There is also an opportunity for one side to get a run of firing cards each turn that could give it a decided advantage because the side that fires second must remove casualties (some can be saved using Saving Throws) and will likely fire back with fewer figures.

The Forces 
The Allies had a relative advantage in numbers with about 30% more figures than the Prussians. This is what I call an "Asymetrical Game" involving unequal forces. Oftentimes we use similar forces, or Symetrical Game, but this time I wanted to try something different. My hope was that the defensive positions afforded by the villages of Altenburg and Eisenburg would be enough to offset the Allies numerical advantage.

Allies (6 player):

27 battalions of infantry
45 squadrons of cavalry
90 pounds of artillery

Prussians (4 players):

21 battalions of infantry
33 squadrons of cavalry
72 pounds of artillery

Approximately half of the Prussian army was on the west bank of the Saale, while the other half had to cross the pontoon bridges  each game turn and hopefully build up a sufficient mass of troops to fend off the Allied attack.

Rules author, Bill Protz, explains how they work to a new player. Note the masses of French cavalry and grenadiers on the table.
Victory Conditions: the winner would be the side that controlled two of the three major villages by the end of game.

Initial Deployment of Forces
The Allies deployed with all of the French infantry on their right flank, tasked with capturing Altenburg, all of the French grenadiers and cavalry in the center, and the Austrian army (infantry and cavalry) positioned on the left flank  opposite the villages of Eisenburg and Schaumburg.

Austrian army deploys on the Allied left flank (Prussian right)
Prussian cavalry crosses the pontoon bridge over the Saale to build up the forces on the west bank.

The Austrian Attack on Eisenburg and Schaumburg
The Austrian army had 10 musketeer battalions, one battalion of converged grenadiers and one battalion of converged light Croats. They also had 2 cuirassier, 1 dragoon, 1 horse grenadier and 1 hussar cavalry regiment in their mounted contingent.

Austrian attack falls on Eisenberg. The cavalry leading the two columns of musketeers are all headed towards Schaumburg.

The village of Eisenburg was a tough nut to crack. Prinz Moritz deployed two battalions of infantry and a pair of medium 6-pound cannon in the village. A third battalion of the IR24 von Schwerin musketeer regiment was held in reserve behind the town. Basically, troops defending a town are hard to kill because they are Saved on a D6 roll of "anything but a 1". So trying to root the defenders out of town with musketry and cannon can make for an unproductive afternoon. The Austrian players eventually figured out that charging into the built up areas was the only way to capture them. They certainly had enough forces to do so and by the end of the day, both villages were in Austrian hands.

Austrian assault on Eisenberg - situation shown at the Half Time Break.
The village of Schaumburg, located next to the Saale River, guarded the back door into neighboring Eisenburg.
Austrian light Croats descend on the lonely outpost at Schaumburg.

This is what is coming behind the Croats. All of the Austrian cavalry four battalions of musketeers.
The Prussians put up a gallant defense of Schaumburg throughout the day. They began the day with one battalion of fusiliers, 5 squadrons of hussars , one 6-pound artillery piece and 3 companies of dismounted Black Hussars. Eventually though, the weight of numbers enabled the Austrians to capture and occupy the village by the end of the game.

And by game end, the Prussians contolled only one quarter of the village of Eisenberg, so it was declared to have been captured by the Austrians.

The Battle for Altenburg on the Prussian left flank
the Prussians crammed two battalions of musketeers (IR5 Alt Braunschweig and IR18 Prinz von Preussen) into Altenburg along with a pair of medium 6-pound cannon. Some jagers lurked in the woods behind the town and two more battalions would eventually be thrown into the town. Prussian Major General von Hulsen skillfully defended the town throughout the day. As one of his battalions would be worn down, he withdrew it from town and replaced it with a fresh one.

The initial French deployment facing Altenburg.
Midway into the game, some Prussian cuirassiers moved towards Altenburg in an attempt to relieve some of the pressure that the French were applying to the village. The KR8 Seydlitz Cuirassiers formed up for a charge into the flank of the French La Marck regiment.

Prussian Seydlitz Cuirassiers prepare to charge into the flank of the French infantry deployed in front of Altenburg.

One of the few highlights in my sector of the battle was the charge of the Seydlitz Cuirassiers which drove off one French battery (temporarily) and routed the La Marck Regiment, which it hit in the flank.

 The Seydlitz Cuirassiers did provide a short respite for the beleagured defenders of Altenburg, but the cuirassiers were a spent force and once they were gone, more French infantry surged forward towards the town.

However, the French quickly stabilized their battle line as the Seydlitz Cuirassiers were themselves badly mauled in the combat.

A view of the table at Noon, when we all took a lunch break. Altenburg in the foreground, - Prussians are fending off hoards of French infantry. In the far background where you see the grey church, is Eisenberg. Background far right corner is the village of Schaumburg.
Towards the end of the game, only a few companies of jagers and the remnants of Itzenplitz held the town. So Frederick sent a battalion of the Guard (IR6) into the town to help hold back the French. At game end, the Prussians were still holding on to Altenburg.

The Grand Cavalry Battle in the Center

As is often the case, the grand cavalry battle is what decides the game and it happened in this one too.

French (left) and Prussian (right) cavalry face off in the center

The epic cavalry melee in the center - French on the left and Prussians on the right. Best looking melee picture that I've ever seen.

The Prussian cuirassiers hold up their end of the bargain with a melee win, the the DR1 Norman Dragoons are defeated by the armor-wearing French Carbiniers and Mestre de Camp regiments and rout towards the pontoons. The French cavalry pursued the dragoons and wiped them out. They also ran into some Prussian reserve cuirassiers, who had become disordered after the Norman Dragoons routed through them.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Battle of Weissenfels - Setting the Table for the Game

Altenburg - Prussian left flank anchor point. Click to enlarge.

Bill P. and I travelled to Woodstock last evening to set up the terrain and deploy our forces for the annual Big Battalion BAR SYW Game to be fought this Saturday May 14th.

A close up view of Altenburg.
The Prussians have marched west towards Saxony to meet the advancing Franco-Austrian army, commanded by Soubise, as it attempts to invade the Brandenburg homeland from the west. The Prussians are attempting to cross the Saale River, near Weissenfels, and establish a bridgehead on the western bank of the river. Soubise is particularly energetic this year, so he intends to attack the Prussian bridgehead before it can be firmly established, and destroy the Prussian army.

A view of the bridgehead on the western side of the Saale River. Note the two pontoon bridges.  Prussian cavalry guard the crossing.

The town of Eisenburg, on the Prussian right flank, also anchoring the line.

Close up view of Eisenburg. Farmhouse made by Ian Weekly. Church made by Der Alte Fritz Himself.

Larger view of the three game tables. The aisles do not exist in game terms.