Sunday, December 29, 2013

AAR: If you go down to the woods today

A Song of Drums and Shakos battle report depicting an ambush in the forests of Saxony 1813



Introduction

Quite some time ago we played some more Song of Drums and Shakos (SDS) and now, finaly we hade time to do a write up. SDS is a Napoleonic skirmish game from Ganesha Games by Sergio Laliscia. An introduction to the game can be found in our first AAR, found here.
For this game we didn't use any specific scenario but rather played a standard game with ordinary victory conditions of trying to break the opposing force.

Our game featured a small Swedish patrol marching down a forest road somewhere in Saxony 1813 as a group of French soldiers lies in wait. This time we gave the Swedes a tough nut to crack as the French were skilled veterans of many campaigns (we used the stats of Young Guard for the French). The Swedes had to count on their larger numbers and the use of their cavalry to prevail. 
As usual we played the game with 28mm miniatures on a 120x120cm (48x48”) board using the measurements intended for 40mm miniatures.

The opposing forces

The Swedish Patrol
1 Senior NCO (aka Officer)
6 Line Infantrymen
1 Hussar NCO
2 Hussars 

The Swedish Patrol


The French in Ambush
1 Veteran Officer
1 Veteran NCO
5 Veteran Infantrymen


The French Veterans


The initial set up


The deployment




The game

It started with the Swedish patrol coming marching down the road, spotting French shakos amongs the trees. The Swedish Senior NCO called for his men to move forward as the French took up positions, one group entering a small grove. 


The Swedish patrol advance down the road.
As the Swedes advanced their Senior NCO failed to keep up, apparently to busy urging the others on. The smaller of the two French groups advanced within short range of their muskets firing at the Mörner's hussars galloping towards them. The first shots caused two of the hussar horses to bolt, losing some momentum. However, no serious wounds were inflicted. The third and last Frenchman on that side of the road, Soldat Petit, fired his rifle but his shot ricocheted of a tree and piered his own Officers hat across the road, momentarily distracting the rest of the French.



The French brace for the Swedish charge.

Getting close the Swedes launched their attack. All across the line however they failed to get stuck in properly as they lost their footing, got out of breath or any other excuse for a bad performance. The first to reach the French lines were the Hussar NCO who only just made contact but then didn't have it in him to land a single blow. In return the French veterans followed their drill from countless battles and one Frenchman lunged his bayonet into the side of the Hussar NCO's horse as the other impaled the hapless hussar with his bayonette, killing him. Over at the grove the French officer easily killed the first Swede to reach him as one of his soldiers fired from amongst the trees knocking an advancing Swedish soldier to the ground. 



The Swedish attack fails to make true impact.

The close combat got underway for real as the two remaining hussars got their horses under control and charged. The momentum was already lost however and only one of the Frenchmen were knocked to the ground, getting on his feet again only moments later. In the grove the Officer was attacked again, this time by two Swedes. As an seasoned swordsman he parried the attacks and killed a Swedish soldier in return. 

Mörners' hussars attack the French.

In a swirling melee of cavalry and infantry the hussars got the upper hand as one hussar knocked a Frenchman down and the other trampled him to death beneath the hooves of his horse. In the grove things where not going the Swedes way as they stumbled trying to attack the French Officer, giving the initiative to the French. The French immediately returned the favor however as Soldat Petit again failed to attack properly and only moved up to the hussars, causing his countryman to doubt his true allegiance.

With combat all across the line and more Swedes arriving the Swedes doubled their efforts and managed to strike the French officer to the ground. Before the Swedes could capitalize on the situation the French carabinier attacked killing a Swede giving the officer just enough time to get on his feet. Back on his feet the French officer continued his excellent swordsmanship cutting down yet another (his third!) bayonet wielding Swede. No doubt inspired by his leader yet another French soldier killed his Swedish adversary.


Swedes bite the dust. (Out of focus to save us the gory details, surely...)
With their numbers low the Swedes morale faltered. Two of the Swedish infantry broke away from the French and of of the Hussars surrendered, presenting his sabre to the French.

The Swedish Senior NCO realised all was lost and called for his men to retreat, leaving the field to the French.


"Rädde sig den som kan!" The Swedes flee from the victorious French.

The French had won!

Conclusion

A quite straight forward game but great fun none the less. The better quality and combat skill of the French really paid off. As the initial Swedish attack faultered in an uncordinated manner they failed to get their numbers to bear at the critical moment. Only some bad luck on the French side then kept the French from having a walk in the park victory (as oppostite to a real fight in the woods).

Friday, November 29, 2013

More Tournament Gaming

Last weekend some of us attended a Warhammer tournament, Quest for Atlantis XI in the city of Uppsala, with some seventy participants.

Our guys did very well, with Robert winning yet another major tournament. Congratulations!

Here are a few pictures from the weekends gaming.

Robert's Orc and Goblins taking on Daemons of Chaos in
the final round, winning the game and the tournament.
Remember what they say about cornered animals (or beastmen)?
Rickard's Beastmen went on to win this game with 17-3.
 

Brave Sir Goblin?
Checking line of sight.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Medieval Reinforcements

In preparation for some more of our 15th century large skirmish battles we now have some more soldiers ready for action.

Their red and yellow colours suggest them being employed by the Thott noble family, one of the major players in the civil war of late 15th century Sweden.



Monday, September 30, 2013

AAR: A Romantic Visit Cut Short

A Song of Drums and Shakos Battle Report



Introduction

As promised here are yet another After Action Report of Song of Drums and Shakos (SDS), a Napoleonic skirmish game from Ganesha Games by Sergio Laliscia. An introduction to the game can be found in our first AAR, found here.

For this game we used one of the scenarios in the supplement rule book: ”Reinforcements”. The original scenario sees the attackers trying to take and hold a redoubt as reinforcements arrive trying to help out the defenders in the redoubt. 

For our game we used a different setting. It is 1813 and vast armies maneuver close to each other as the French advance towards Berlin is stalling. A Prussian officer, taking a few soldiers with him, is visiting a certain local "lady" as a French reconnaissance force arrive on the scene. As shots start to fly Swedish troops nearby are alerted and race to help their assaulted Prussian allies.

The scenario stipulates a small starting force of Prussians deployed in the redoubt (or in our case: the enclosed yard). The attacking French deploy on any one table edge. The Swedish soldiers arrive randomly - both regarding numbers and entry point. The French win if at any time the yard is without defenders and at least a single Frenchman is within the walls. Apart from that normal victory conditions apply.

We played the game with 28mm miniatures (all but a few bits being from Perry Miniatures) on a 120x120cm (48x48”) board using the measurements intended for 40mm miniatures.


The opposing forces


The Prussian Defenders 

1 Line Infantry Officer
1 Drummer
5 Line Infantry Musketeers

The Swedish Reinforcements

1 Line Infantry NCO
6 Line Infantrymen
1 Hussar NCO
2 Hussars


The Prussian defenders (to the left) with the Swedish reinforcements (to the right)

The French Reconnaissance Force

1 Line Infantry Officer
1 Drummer
2 Line Infantry NCOs (Grenadier and Voltiguer respectively)
1 Sapper

3 Line Infantry (Grenadiers)
6 Line Infantry (Voltiguers)
6 Veteran Line Infantry (Voltiguers)

The French Reconnaissance Force

The initial set up
A 4x4 table

The deployment

The initial deployment zones. The defender's reinforcements will later arrive from
a random table edge numbered 1-4 or, on a roll of 5 or 6, on a table edge of the defender's choice. 

The game


It was an early morning after a late night…

As the morning mist started to lift the lone Prussian sentry spotted the shakos of a french reconnaissance party among the trees. The Prussians sounded the alarm and scrambled from their nights rest to get in order. Moments later their officer appeared from the house, pulling his pants up and his uniform jacket still unbuttoned.

The Prussian officer, his romantic visit cut short.

The French approached from two directions. Two groups of voltiguers - with an officer, NCO and drummer - came from the forested hill. A group of experienced veterans led the attack while the rest prepared to open fire.

At the same time a group of French grenadiers - with a NCO and sapper - attacked from another direction, towards a small opening in the stone wall enclosing the yard.


French grenadiers and a sapper approach the Prussian right...

...while one of the groups of voltiguers on the Prussian left open fire.
The first shots rang out as the voltiguers in the tree line fired. The Prussians kept their heads down, taking cover behind a wagon parked in the yard, while the veteran voltigures ran across the open ground towards the wall. Their NCO, Sergeant le Coq, however, apparently suffering from a bad hangover dragged his feet and did not manage to keep up with his men.

The leading group of voltiguers arrive at the wall,
outrunning both their NCO and the other voltiguers still in the tree line.
The voltiguer veterans now in a good position by the wall started to pour fire at close range at the Prussians covering behind the wagon. Meanwhile the french grenadiers was also closing in, arriving at the opening in the wall, in the flank of the hard pressed Prussians. Even though the Prussians - with a lot of luck – so far had managed to avoid heavy casualties their position was now very dire indeed.

The French grenadiers come to join the party.
Luckily for the Prussians their Swedish allies had sentries nearby. Responding already to the first shots being fired they started to arrive on the scene, behind the French grenadiers.

The first Swedish soldiers arrive on the scene.
As the Swedish infantrymen advanced on the French the grenadiers cooly turned and fired, killing the leading Swedish soldiers.

But the Prussian luck continued as a patrol of Swedish Mörner Hussars that was returning to their  lines from a night scouting mission now came galloping down the road towards the farm house.

 Swedish Mörner Hussars comes to the Prussians' aid.
The tables now had turned as more Swedish infantry poured on to the field while the Swedish hussars closed in. The French grenadiers was now in a very bad spot – some had already emptied their muskets at the approaching Swedish infantrymen while others had charged into the yard at the Prussians. The remaining grenadiers were in the open as the hussars was almost upon them. A frightening prospect for any infantry soldier.

The French grenadiers, quite surprisingly, proved to be more than a match for the hussars. Even though they were caught in the open by charging cavalry they managed to slow the Swedes down. Instead of being wiped out at an instant it all turned into a swirling melee by the corner of the stone wall where the Mörner hussars hacked down with their sabres at the French grenadiers at their feet with little or no result.

The French grenadiers proving to be hard as nails!
The Swedish hussars fail to break the French left flank.
In a final effort to clear the yard of Prussians the French intensified their efforts and the voltiguers begun to jump over the wall, attacking the Prussians with their bayonets.

The Swedish reinforcements were not far behind however and followed the French example, resulting in a large hand to hand combat in the yard. The French sapper distinguished himself as he again and again held his own against multiple enemies before he was finally brought down.

The grizzled French sapper fight against the Swedes.
Casualties started to mount on both sides. The French grenadiers were fighting a losing battle against the Swedish hussars but in a heroic effort managed to drag one of the horsemen to the ground.

In the yard both sides lost men. The allied superiority in numbers within the walls started to make a difference and it looked liked it might go bad for the French. The group of French voltiguers, the first to open fire, was only all to slowly advancing towards the farm - much needed further forward.

The second group of French voltiguers finally advance on the farm. But is it too little to late?

Fierce hand to hand combat in the yard.

Just when it looked like the French were going to be able to get more men into hand to hand combat the last of the grenadiers holding the French left flank against the Swedish hussars fell. The Swedish Mörner hussars saw the French officer exposed and spurred their horses forward.

All was not lost for the French officer however as he had one of his trusted NCO:s close at hand. With some quick thinking Sergeant le Coq could lead the French to intercept the threat against their officer. Sadly,  the sergeant continued his poor performance from earlier, and did nothing. This lack of action caught the rest of the French flat footed and gave the Swedish hussars the lone French officer served on a plate.

This time around the Swedish hussars showed what they can do to infantry in the open. They unceremoniously cut the French officer down, killing him.

The French officer is ridden down while Sergeant le Coq is looking the other way...
With their numbers running low and their officer killed many of the French turned and fled. Sergeant le Coq running faster than every one else... The yard was firmly in the hands of the Allies. The Prussian officer would now be able to make a less hasty and more worthy exit (if there is such a thing) from his lady.

The Allies - Prussian and Swedes - had won!


Conclusion

It was a fun game with some unexpected results and turnovers along the way.

The Allies had some real luck with the timing of their reinforcements. The infantry did not only arrive early but all of them also came from the best (closest!) table edge. Had that not happened it would have been a different game entirely. The Swedish cavalry also arrived at the worst possible moment for the French, a moment where they were spread out over the battlefield with some entering the yard and others still quite a long way from the farm. That left a only a handful of French grenadiers to try to hold the Swedish Mörner hussars.

As a result of us being somewhat rusty on the rules we made a mistake in the ensuing cavalry vs infantry combat giving the grenadiers a far better chance of survival than they were supposed to have. Well, as it turned out it gave us a more balanced game over all... When it was time for the French officer to fight the cavalry we used the rules properly - much to the dismay of a certain French officer who quickly found himself very dead!

As an end note, the French were bound to lose regardless as they had the NCO, Sergeant le Coq on their side. He cost the French numerous turnovers and failed to do anything properly - apart from running away at the end that is.













Saturday, August 31, 2013

Game On!

Of late some of us has been busy playing Warhammer Fantasy, including participating in ETC - European Team Championships. This weekend the largest tournament in Sweden with more than 100 participants is taking place. So far so good. We'll keep you posted.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Napoleonic French en Masse

In 1813, early in the autumn campaign that peaked at Leipzig, the Swedish of the allied Northern Army clashed with the French at some occasions, like at Dessau/Roslau late September 1813.

One of the French regiments involved in those actions were the 156th Line Regiment. They were part of Brigade Gruyer in the 13th Infantry Division. This represents the first battalion of that regiment.

It's a first step of ours towards non-skirmish Napoleonic action and our most southern member (still a Northern Wargamer!) is to blame.

Alarmingly the French have already started to scout the allied lines... An after action report is soon to follow!



1st Battalion, 156th Line Regiment


Sunday, June 30, 2013

A bit more on Swedish Napoleonic Soldiers in 1813

Sometimes a piece of artwork provides all inspiration you need.

This picture drawn by Swedish officer Ljunggren who was in the Northern Army of the Leipzig Campaign 1813 is simply great. The picture has the subtitle "The difference between the officers who stayed at home and the Swedish officers returning from Germany". It highlights the old fashioned and somewhat odd uniform that the Swedes wore at the start of the campaign and how the Swedish officers begged, borrowed and stole (maybe even bought...) new uniforms to avoid riducule from their allies. In particular the high collar and close to corsican style hat looked out of place. Coming to the continent the Swedes finally realized that shako clearly was the new black and it was as a consequence later part of the new Swedish uniform of 1815.

This picture - apart from information - also gives a lot of inspiration for gaming. It was apparent that our Swedish forces on the gaming table had to include a rash officer who was a fashion victim with an attitude who had very high thoughs of himself and who had been very fast indeed to get his hands on a new uniform.

Also, a somewhat thickheaded officer with no means to get even a shako had to be included.

Shown below is a WIP of our fashionable (and thereby rare!) Swedish officer, using among other things a Perry Austrian officer, a Russian shako and a plume from a French colpack.

Ljunggren's picture of how the Swedish officers changed their uniforms during the 1813-1814 campaign.


WIP Swedish Officer


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Building a Medieval Church in 28mm scale

After our latest AAR (found here) we got some very nice comments regarding the church featured in that post.




It was build using bits from Valdemar Miniatures as a starting point and to that adding alot of epoxy, spacers, grey stuff, blood, sweat and tears. The fit of the building blocks left a lot to be desired to be honest and required quite a lot of work to fit together properly. The end result is more than satisfactory though!

The overall layout and proportions are inspired from many stone churches in Sweden built during the Middle Ages, like the Herrestad Church in Östergötland dating from the 12th Century. Our church has the often seen features of a south gate (in addition to the western gate in the tower) and an apse (the semi-circular termination of the mail building in the east end).


The Herrestad Church. The large windows being late additions.

Here are some work in progress pictures as the build developed.



"Was this such a good idea?"




Testing the basic layout.

 
Even more testing.


The construction begins. Tricky.


The basic building completed, the apse still missing.


Detail shot of the construction of the south gate.


Grey stuff and filler being used. Lots of it.


The apse. Build from half a plumbing pipe, grey stuff and gravel!




Using filler as a layer of "paint".
 
 
 
The finished Church.


The Tower.

View of the back.

 
The church in action.