Posts Tagged 'Napoleon’s Battles'

Fall 1813 Campaign Game at the Levee Cafe

We had another fun dust-up at the Levee Cafe in Hastings last weekend as 14 players duked it out in a short campaign game designed to generate battles leading up to Leipzig. Once again, there were thousands of figures on the various tables.

Here’s a picture of the Army of Boehmia prior to the games getting going… it gives you an idea as to how many figures were being used:


Army of Bohemia

Army of Bohemia



The game was designed such that there were five battlefields arranged in the pattern of the number 5 side of a d6.   The allies were to fight their way on to the four boards in the corner prior to entering the central board.  If we could win off the central board and get into the French rear area, we would score a decisive victory… needless to say we ran out of time before we could even make it on to the central board at all, and had we done so we would have run into Napoleon and the entire French Guard along with 2-3 other corps.   Each table had several entry/exit points on them where either side could feed in one corps per turn if desired.   If these entry points were captured, we could make life very difficult for the other side to either feed in reinforcements or extricate their forces from the table.

I acted as a combo platter of Czar Alexander, Schwarzenberg and Wittgenstein all in one and as such directed the general strategy for the Army of Bohemia.  The plan along our two boards was to try and draw off the French corps away from the exit points leading to the central table.  

This worked well on the ‘Dresden’ board, where Fitz, acting as Bennigsen managed to surround St. Cyr (Noel) and his two corps on three sides and came close to pinching him off from his road home.  The timely arrival of some French Guard Cavalry kept the road open for a while, but if he had more time I think the issue would not have been in doubt.  Noel anchored a good chunk of his forces on the large hill that dominated the board.  Fitz ignored this terrain choosing to instead work his way around the flanks, and it took Noel a very long time to try and pull his forces out of a position that was very strong, but also pretty immobile.


Action shot from the Dresden board

Action shot from the 'Dresden' board



On the Erfurt board, Jack L. had a similar plan but ran into a combination of bad terrain and some deployment issues, stringing out his Prussian corps in a long line and leaving several divisional generals on their own each turn to roll for command. In his defense, it has been a loong time since he played the rules.   He eventually got to grips with Murat (Trevor), who both played a smart game and had ungodly good luck with his dice… he rolled many tens and therefore was a Napoleon’s Battles military genius.   I eventually had to start feeding the small Russian Corps of Wittgenstein’s wing in from another flank to take some pressure off of Jack and start causing some damage.    Napoleon threw a wrench in the works by ordering Renyier’s corps forward from the Frech rear area, where he managed to come on the table behind Jack’s extended left flank.  Jack was able to turn and face him, but it was clear that those two forces would be tangled for the rest of the day.  In my personal opinion I think we would eventually have forced Murat off the table, but it would have taken some time and probably some more forces from the AoB reserves.


The Erfurt board

The 'Erfurt' board



The ‘Wartenburg’ table featured the whole of the Army of Silesia trying to force it’s way across a veritable minefield of gullies, marches and generally bad terrain to try and put a hurting on MacDonald (Tony W.) and his forces.    This turned out to be the real meatgrinder board.  The French committed a lot of their reserves to bolster MacDonald and to try and wreck the AoS for good, including a flank march and apparently they were about to come in the rear area of AoS as well.   


The Wartenburg Table

The Wartenburg Table



The ‘Torgau’ battlefield featured Ney sweeping aside a small Prussian corps of observation (i.e. landwehr) and then spending a few hours waiting for Allied reinforcements that never arrived, since Crow (Blucher) made the decision to send his entire force after MacDonald at Wartenburg.  After spending some time talking smack to both the Allies and the Emperor, Ney eventually sent his forces on the long flanking march that was due to hit the AoS in the rear as the game was called.


Neys Moment of Glory at Torgau

Ney's Moment of Glory at Torgau


Overall I had a great time, even though my personal troops didn’t get engaged that much.  The strategy element with the mini map campaign was interesting and lead to some cool decisions that the CinC’s would have to make regarding where to push, when to feed in reinforcements and when to pull out.  There are some refinements I can see needing to be made in the rules but overall it was a lot of fun and well-thought out.

The terrain boards were gorgeous, but you could tell that they were originally designed for World War II action, since most of the boards were 50% (or more in most cases) rough terrain.  It would be great infantry terrain for WWII, but it was terrible for Napoleonic maneuver for the most part.   I do like the idea of having more rough ground on the boards… it makes decisions for where to attack & defend that much more interesting… but with the exception of the central board and Torgau there was little of what could be considered ‘good ground’… I heard that MacDonald at Wartenburg sent Napoleon a message asking him why he was sending more cavalry to that board when he could really use more infantry.

Anyway, kudos to Jeff for setting things up.  It was a fun game.  The next one is tentatively scheduled for May 16th and right now it looks like it will be 15mm Seven Years War action.   Stay tuned…

For more photos of the weekend, please check out my Photobucket album.


More Cossacks on the Way

We never have enough cossacks, it seems, so I cleaned up another 16 of them and mounted them on painting bases this evening.  This time around it’s the Ural Cossacks from Old Glory.  Casting-wise, this batch is better than the Don Cossacks I painted earlier.  Only one horse was slightly under-run.

I monkeyed around with a dark brown undercoat instead of a black one last time, but I didn’t see much difference, and since the cossacks are mostly blue & brown anyway I don’t see the point in deviating from the tried & true black primer basecoat.  

I suspect these will be the last 15mm Napoleonics I paint at least for a while.  Based on what I saw at the last big battle, there are so many 15mm Napoleonics floating around here that no matter what you choose to build, someone else likely has it built already unless you’re looking at pre-1809 figs, in which case there’s both no figures and no real interest amongst the locals.

Leipzig Refight – Nov 22nd, 2008

Well, the big fight has come & gone.   Jeff kindly arranged to rent the banquet room at the Levee Cafe in Hastings, and eight gamers showed up to duke it out.

The game represented the battle on the first day (Oct. 16th) of the Battle of Nations.   Forces were from the Napoleon’s Battles scenario book with the red cover.   The French were represented by Fitz (Ney), Jimbo (Murat), Joe (Napoleon I) and Joe’s friend Dave.  The Coalition forces were manned by Jeff (Schwarzenberg), Elliot (Kleist), Crow (Blucher) and yours truly as Wittgenstein.  

There were at least 1,000 miniatures on the table… it’s nice to know there are enough Napoleonic forces for any one rules set to do the largest battle of the period.   The only things missing were some cossacks and some Russian light (6-pdr) foot artillery.   Obviously I have some things to work on for next time.

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