Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Convoy Action in Spain

More Sharp Practice:

The further dispatches of Ricardo Afilado, Hefe of the Regimentar Fuego a Volidad.

Dispatch from the recent action near Fools Crossing, South Western Spain.

Yet again, those foolish Englishment have relied upon our Gallant Spanish forces to save them from disaster.

That Damn English Colonel, to who we have so unfortunately been assigned, saw fit to exclude us from the convoy interception by assigning us the role of preventing relief forces coming from the West. Miles from the actual target of operations.

Needless to say, the French Convoy seems to have escaped, and reports are now circulating that the English have been making free with Spanish gold in the nearby towns already. No reports have yet confirmed the fate of the extremely important consignment of Amontillado, however.

We began operations by taking up our assigned positions covering the road to the west, having first ensured that no French Voltiguers were lurking in the nearby fields - as they are wont to do, the cowardly dogs.

We then sucessfully liaised with the local irregulars, and agreed a joint operation in the interests of Spain to ensure that what is Spanish should remain in Spanish hands.
They were to secure the more bulky items to a place of secrecy, my men would assist, and protect the afforementioned Amontillado consignment.

At this point a Division of French Cavalry began to charge the exposed rear of the English line. Had it not been for us, there would be many an English mother mourning her son at this very moment.

I counted two regiments of Cuirassiers, a squadron of Grenadiers a cheval, two squadrons at least of those damnable Polish red coated lancers, and what appeared to be a detachment of Mameluks. This information may suggest that the Ogre himself was nearby overseeing events.

Men of Spain, we certainly showed him something this afternoon!

Even when they closed on us to bayonet point, my brave men did not take a step back. We detroyed all who stood before us, and routed all but a few of the remaining lancers.
Not a man broke ranks, not a foot stepped backward in the face of repeated charges by the best horsemen in the invaders army, and not a musket was fired prematurely.

Such bravery can only come from a true Spanish patriot!

Ably assisted by the local irregulars, who accepted my command willingly, we saw off this determined threat, securing the flank of the English - who, it should be noted, had their entire force utterly exposed to this mounted threat.
Truely, we saved their backsides again.

Sadly, the irregulars, not being as disciplined as our own true men, made a greater sacrifice. But we hope that the information we gave them will be of use when they return later this evening to secure the property of Spain for the Spanish once more.

It is with some regret, that I therefore have to report that those damn fool Englishment have again failed to take elementary preacatuions, completely neglecting to close the road behind the convoy, before springing their ambush.

Thankfully, we expect the local Spanish irregulars to complete the task once night falls.

Viva free Spain.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Sharp Practice Campaign begins

Our organiser, Peter, has posted a proper report on the Sharp Practice Forum, which should be seen as the official version in all respects.
However, luckily for you readers, the only player who can remember the log in details for this club blog has also got a report.
Hefe Ricardo Afilado of the Third Company, Regimentar Fuego a Voluntad in the service of his probably Christian Majesty of Spain (or what is left of it), has gallantly made it back to report on events in the interior fringes of the hinterland of Iberia.

Here he is, looking appropriately out of focus as he advances in an orderly manner...

It is understood that the British have a tactic of hiding behind the back of hills and leaping out to surprise the unsuspecting Frenchman. This tactic relies upon the extensive use of independently acting light infantry and chaps taking individual aim. None of this was in evidence under the command of senor Billy last week. There were no light troops, little evidence of those overly proud Brits taking aim, and sadly, were it not for the excellent performance of our Brave Spanish Boys, the day would have been lost.

Instead, we saw the Englishmen strung out over fields and plains, we saw company officers advance their men on top of the hill and fire at extreme range (but, it should be added, only if their target were French light troops in cover), and we saw the piecemeal introduction of line troops against an organised invader.

In fact, the only bright spot to report was the brave actions of his Majesty's Spanish troops.
Not only did we manage to secure all of the Rioja in the nearby house from the depredations of the French and those perfidious Albions, but we sucessfully guarded the extreme right flank from all comers and proceeded to advance across said enclosed field, ensuring that no sneaky Frenchies were hiding under the corn rows, by regularly delivering fire in an orderly and efficient manner. A credit to our drill instructors, they delivered an immaculate volley whenever they heard the command 'Fuego' - although to be fair, it did cause some discomfort when I addressed the men as a formation.

And we bagged one of those Frenchies too, without the loss of any of our own brave boys, well, ok maybe one, but he was from Catalonia, so that is all right.
A mighty victory for the forces of Espania. Soon the world's trophies will again be ours!

Here we see those perfidious Brits wasting ammunition at long range against Voltiguers in cover. Had we not out flanked them with my Potatos Bravas, they would have collapsed for certain.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Random 15mm figure

A random base from my 3rd corps.
White undercoat.
selective ink wash on the bits needing emphasis - i.e. the strapping - paint and then a drop of light brown ink on the flesh - which I should really have watered down first.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Shako 2 Game

Friday saw an 'extra' gathering of Phoenites for a daytime game of Shako 2. After half a dozen games I'm finding these to be a well integrated and coherent set of rules that plays quickly and can be grasped instinctively by experienced gamers - factors that for me outweigh any foibles. Of all the sets I've tried since I started this project, this is the one I'd pick as my favourite - especially to play with someone not particularly into the period.

Since Claymore 06 I've been building a pair of armies for the Peninsular War in 28s. Next week will be the third anniversary of this project. I've painted over a thousand figures myself, and eBay assistance takes the total to a smidge under 1400 in total. I may add some Spanish and a couple more units and then take a break - other than gaming with them.

Here are the French:

That is 730 figures with 33 battalions of foot, 15 regiments of cavalry [too many I know, but they are pretty] and seven batteries. 35 Generals! Mostly French. A divisions worth of Germans - Westfalian, Bavarian and Swiss

And here are the Allies:

Lagging behind slightly with only 653 figures [1378 in total] with 29 line battalions and fourteen cavalry regiments and seven batteries. Also 28 Generals - meaning I've painted 63 Generals! More mixed than the French with a good dollop of Portuguese [including a cult favourite - the Loyal Lusitanian Legion] but only one Spanish battalion.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Napoleon - Foundry ruleset - Immediate impressions

My [signed] copy of the new Foundry rulebook arrived a couple of hours ago. Here are some initial comments.


The book itself is handsomely produced. Good quality binding and a high standard of layout. Text is clear, colours are balanced. Quite a few illustrations from Knotel. Very many pictures of miniatures – with it has to be said a wide variety of quality in respect of the paint-jobs. All the pictures used in the painting section are of beautifully painted figures – some have very good-closeups of difficult to paint portions of a figure [e.g. face]. The same cannot be said for the shots showing units in a game environment – many are frankly badly painted. The terrain and scenery is also quite poor. A bit of a disappointment that as I want all such pics to be aspirational.

Unit and Army Concepts

An infantry battalion is 6 elements with a recommendation of 4 figures on 40x40 bases. Light cavalry 12 figures on 6 bases. Heavy cavalry 16 on eight [both 40x50] and artillery batteries having four guns [50x80]. That seems to be the same for all nations – except Austrians who get bigger units [8 element inf battalions]. I can see no specific mention of base sizes for 15mm above the usual statement about 'anything goes as long as both sides are compatible'.

The game allows different formations – line, column [of attack, and of march], square etc. Interestingly [for a Nap rule nerd like me] the column is 2 wide and three deep rather than 3x2. Advanced rules allow ordre mixte, divisional squares and the like.

In respect of forces an example is given of a small starter-sized game army having 6 battalions, two skirmisher detachments, one battery and one unit of cavalry. This is given as a force with a value of 250 points. The army lists imply that much larger forces can be used but I can't immediately find a specific recommended points value for a ‘standard' game – ala 1500 for WAB. A figure of 500 is mentioned in the army lists, but not explicitly as a suggested standard size. If 500 is intended as the standard then based on the example given I estimate a force as being about 300 infantry figures, 30 cavalry and 8 guns with crew.
Army lists are by ‘campaign' [year/theatre] and take up about half the book! No Ottomans. Some French allies are covered –Bavaria, Silesia, Saxony.

A division is typically given in the army lists as up to 5 battalions. 2 regiments in a cavalry brigade – two of which can be combined into a division. Elite formations and artillery are a [in numbers] function of line divisions taken. A few random points values from the French 1813 list. Marie-Louise's – 10 points. Line infantry – 15. Old Guard – 40. Foot Artillery – 60. Dragoons – 40. Guard Heavy cav -55.


The main rules themselves only take up thirty pages [of 226]. Turn sequence is:

Resolve Command Cards

Of those, the one that seems to have the most originality is the ‘Resolve Command Cards' segment in which units in engagement distance [2x move]of the enemy are given VERY specific instructions [e.g Charge!, Stand and Fire!, Run!] by use of command cards which are hidden from your opponent until this phase. The cards are available as a download on the Foundry webbie.

Players alternate moves by divisions. Volley fire has a range of 15 inches. Artillery 48". Columns can fire ineffectively. Units have a quality rating from militia-line-elite-guard. Skirmies don't appear on table in the basic rules but are factored into the rules for firing.
Each nation has some specific rules to benefit/hinder it as a means of generating flavour. Examples: British cavalry have command penalties, Russians get discounted artillery, French divisions may get ‘free' moves at the beginning of the game.

My general impression here is of simplicity and quickness. Whether you think those are bad things is up to you. To me they're not.

The Hobby Material

The book contains an extensive section on painting figures. Inevitably I am reminded of the Dallimore book, but I can't spot any direct recycling. Interesting sections on mass production quickly and also on improving specific parts of your figure painting. As per the Dallimore book the colour guides exclusively reference the Foundry paints. Each nation gets some specific advice and a short description/examples/origin/role of a good range of troop types.

The potted history covers the entire period. Fairly basic but covers the main campaigns. The information on formation structure is well done and would be very helpful to someone new to the period.

Immediate Conclusion
I have no strong opinions on the rules as yet – but I'm certainly going to give them a try. No regrets about handing over my money so far.


Sunday, 17 May 2009

Aspern 2009

Initial deployment
Aspern Essling.

Willy's sand table again, such a great resource, every club should have a 12 foot sand table.

Using Shako 2, we set up and played to a conclusion with a dozen players, and booze.

The Austrians stuck mostly to the same plan as Archduke Karl - take the towns, then cut off the river, and 'Cannae' them. Right down to the rousing speech about sons of Austria, and toasting death to the tyrant. Significantly, explicit orders were given to mask and burn, rather than assault the granary.

The French deployed St Hilaire and Claparede in place of Lassalle's light cavalry as the forward screen between the towns, but otherwise followed a similar set up to said Tyrant.

We also had a smaller 'side table' set up for displaying the bridges themselves.

This was played out as a mini game - with the same historical result. After a couple of smaller barges knocked gaps which French engineers were able to repair, the 'windmill' succeeded in destroying a major section of the bridge.

Major tactical decisions were taken as follows:
The initial pressure on Lannes at Essling drew off Lasalle's light cavalry behind the town. This coincided with the first knock to the bridges, at which point Karl formed the main Austrian battery in the centre, and brought forward his cavalry reserve.
This in turn drew in all of the French heavy cavalry and the Guard, who committed themselves far further forward than was probably wise - given their bridge of retreat was suspect to say the least.

Lannes performed prodigious feats defending Essling before being overcome, at which point, Massena confirmed he had also been forced out of Aspern. Bessieres and Lannes had been broken as effective forces, St Hilaire was similarly broken, and Claparede was under severe pressure. Meanwhile, the Guard, Nansouty and D'Espagne had also been pulled forward to protect the French centre - and failed to make headway before the untouched Austrian holding force, while the Austrian Grenadier Division had yet to be committed.

With the French rear open, both flanks now turned, and the reserve fully committed forward to the middle, a clear Austrian victory was declared.

An absolutely cracking game, and well worth adding to the 'great games' file.


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Auerstadt 2006

In 2006, on the anniversary to the day of the battle, we did a display game at Kirriemuir's show for Auerstadt.

The rules for this were the excellent From Valmy to Waterloo, and the figures were all 6mm Adler, with Timecast buildings.

On the drive up to the show, there was fog on the roads, just to add to the flavour.

Austerlitz 2005

We also did Austerlitz in 2005, at Simon's.

The rules used were Grande Armee, with Regiments instead of Brigades.

Some more pics.

The Pratzen

Waterloo 2000

At the millenium, Simon hosted a series of games baed on the 100 days.

for 2000, we did Waterloo.

Some more old pics.


Prussian Arrival

Eylau 2007

In 2007, Willy hosted an Eylau game.

Sand covered in flour to make the snow, a good time was had by all.

Here are some old pictures.

Phoenix Napoleonics

Prompted by the closure of Geocities (and general slackness for over 6 years), Phoenix Wargaming is moving its club website to a series of period related blogs.

This one is for Napoleonic Games.

As an evening club, we tend to play smaller engaagements in the club, to get a finish.

But the big games are our true favourites, and we are lucky to have access to both Simon and Willy's sand tables and wargaming hut for these.

Rules in use include Shako2, LFS and Grand Armee.

Most members have a personal preference, as the posts will show.