Friday, September 28, 2012

Volley & Bayonet French!

In continuing my theme of "plastic domination" - I present 3 new "brigades" for Volley & Bayonet.  Specifically, the Battle of Talavera from the "Road to Glory" rules set.

Bear in mind, I've based these guys on a 1/2 Scale compared to actual Volley and Bayonet.  1/2 is nice because the math is easy.  16" movement rounded down to 8"  Unit size from 3" to 1.5" etc.  It's been my experience that as long as the ground scale stays true to the base size, you can have a very entertaining and historically accurate game.

These will be French from various corps.  The Grenadiers are the "Royal Spanish Guard" Grenadiers and are, I think, the only "shock" troops that the French field.  I took some poetic license and gave them Green coats, as at first, I thought they were staffed with Spaniards.  Not totally sure but they look great!  Seriously, I'm not one to toot my own horn, but I think the Grenadiers turned out very well.  I'm sure they'll be mercilessly cut down by British musket and cannon fire or mowed down at the Pejar Redoubt but that's what it's all about!

I also included some surprises, like my French Corps Commander holding a map or orders, as well as the Legere unit I painted last week.  Additionally, I've mounted the Voltigeurs and they look cool...and menacing!

Enjoy.  Huzzah!

Spanish Royal Guard Grenadiers!  Shock Troops!

Grenadier marching
These guys were a joy to paint.

The entire "brigade"

French Line Fusiliers administering Napoleon's "Continental System" with the business end of their muskets!

French Skirmishers.  They French get a ton of these bad boys at Talavera.

French Division Command Stand

Legere unit

French Corps Commander

Corps and Division Commander

Next up will be some British line units, a Portuguese unit or two (not even sure if the Portuguese fought at Talavera but the figures are neat), some French Artillery, and of course the Spaniards.  I'm using the HaT 1796 Frenchies, but will give their bicorns a 90 degree turn on their heads and also will paint the troops in white uniforms of the Estremadura Regiment.  Looking forward to it!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

reality bites

There comes a time in every gamer's life when he has to face priorities.  After careful analysis and weighing of my options, I made the momumental and epic decision to switch to 10mm for Napoleonic, Fantasy, and Modern gaming.
 I own 3 1/160 Minifigs T-80U's and boy are they sweet machines.
 I own a ton of 10mm Nappies...unpainted...based for other games I don't play...and at my grandfather's house. 
Additionally, I think I own my bodyweight in 10mm GW and Kallistra fantasy and HYW figs.

With the prospect of mortgage, day-care, rent, and God knows what else looming on the horizon, I took stock of what I had and actually took some of my wife's sage advice.  (it's noteworthy at this point, I believe, to mention that she actually approved of the "big switch" to 10mm for all 3 of the above mentioned genres.)

When I asked her about my next round of acquisitions being either 10mm fantasy or 10mm nappies, she chose the nappies for the simple reason that I should continue painting the plastic fantasy troops - to include the Zvezda "orc" catapult and "empire" Great Cannon and Hellblaster (post-medieval field artillery).

So that being said, I am sticking to my guns.  Since I have neither the room to store any of it right now, or the free time to paint much of it, I'm sticking to my plastic 20mm forces right now for both fantasy and napoleonics - and here are some pics of my latest projects - French skirmishers for Volley & Bayonet:

Mostly finished French Voltigeurs

A pre-1805 officer in the background.  He will be filling in for the Division Commander for the course of the Battle...

Still need to paint up some detail and clean them up a bit. 
and why leave my 20mm Fantasy out?  Here's a Goblin Catapult for my upcoming Warmaster games...Because Orcs need artillery too!
The Goblin in the basket has some loaded grenades, just incase the rock doesn't get enough people...This will be even more hilarious when I am done painting it.

 So there you have it.  Reality bites - and plastic is king.  For now...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Volley & Bayonet ACW Battle: Gettysburg's Peach Orchard

Played a "small" Volley & Bayonet ACW Battle last night.  Well, small for Volley and Bayonet I suppose.  Last night I gamed the Rebel I Corps' assault against Sickle's III Corps Salient at Gettysburg.  For anyone that doesn't know, General Dan Sickles, for reasons that still elude us, advanced his Corps off Cemetery Ridge on Day 2 and moved out towards I guess what he thought was better ground to his immediate front.

The resulting bulge in the Union lines stuck itself into one of the most powerful Corps formations in the Rebel army, as it was positioning itself for an echeloned attack against the Union positions on their left flank.  The battles that were fought in and around that area of Gettysburg are some of the most heroic, terrifying, and costly battles in the annals of the American Army to this day.

Brigades and Batteries posted along the Emmitsburg Road go stationary.

Sickles' III Corps after their initial advance.  The Plum Run is visible on the left with the Rose Farm next to it. The Trostle Farm is visible in the lower right.  THe Peach Orchard is along the road.

General Sickles' Headquarters at the Trostle Farm.  Pretend that "1" is a "3" ...

This battle had some unusual and unexpected conclusions. The result was not at all what I expected to happen.  Although Volley and Bayonet usually delivers predictable results, last night's engagement was a complete reversal of fortune.  I will get into why I think that happened.
Barksdale's Brigade advances against the Peach Orchard

Union guns ready themselves for action.

INto the fray

After the initial assault, Barksdale's Brigade evaporated (???) Union Brigades hold firm with heavy casualties. A direct assault along the Peach Orchard would not occur the rest of the Battle in that kind of mult-Brigade strength.

Assaulting the Wheatfield.  

Rose Woods.

Defending the Stone Wall against Hood's Texans

De Trobiand's Brigade in the Wheatfield

Nowhere along the huge front did the Rebel's find their attacks succeeding.  I attribute this to several planning mistakes I made both laying out the terrain and assigning movement values.

Since Volley & Bayonet's movement for massed units is 16 inches, I changed movement and range to centimeters, however I kept the ground scale the same as if it was in inches.  That's a problem with scenario design for a few reasons:

In the actual Battle, union brigades arrived, and were almost immediately attacked.  In Volley & Bayonet terms, I do not believe they would have had time to "go stationary" however they met the Rebel Assaults with 7 melee and 5 fire dice.  Not good prospects for the Rebs.

Also in the actual Battle, the Rebs achieved excellent local superiority and had supporting Brigades in their assaults.  I was, at best, only ever able to achieve 2:1 on the assault for the rebs and 4 dice are still no match for 7 fire dice.

One last thing is terrain density.  Since my ground scale was so convoluted, I believe I made the terrain more restrictive than it should have been.  The Rose Woods was too close to the Rose Farm and the Wheatfield, and did not give the Rebs the maneuver room they needed to flank the positions around the Peach Orchard and Wheatfield.  The Rebs never had a chance.

Marker marks the position of the Battery that was captured by the rebs, mins 1 Strength Point.

Captured and re-crewed the guns!  First time that has ever happened in a Volley and Bayonet game for me.

US Excelsior Brigade counterattacks in the Peach Orchard driving Semmes' Brigade out

Final Dispositions - All Union Brigades hold their ground with significant casualties
In all, this battle was much more like Shiloh than Longstreet's assault on Sickles' Corps.  I even tried echeloning the assaulting divisions, which ended up being deadly for the Rebs as they could not support each other.  The actual battle was a quick and intense encounter and in some instances, New York and Pennsylvania Regiments were literally swept out of Barksdale's way.  In this battle, Barksdale's Brigade was annihilated.  Kind of unexpected.  A cracking good time though, and my next 6mm ACW adventure will be First Manassass.  Huzzah!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

DAK Rolling Stock: Prime Movers & Transport

Wanted: Trucks to haul men, armaments, ammunition, food, medical supplies, looted local relics, adventurers, the Ark of the Covenant and other various heavy and possibly explosive supplies across North Africa a few times over and over again until they break or are destroyed.  Must accommodate up to 3 tons. Inquire within.

Moving on with my DAK Battlegroup project, I finally finished transport for another Infantry Company and prime movers for my 2 PAK 38s.  The Trucks are 1/100 model Opel Blitz Trucks from Zvezda and the Krupp Protze Trucks are Battlefront.  In actuality, the Protze's may not always haul the anti tank guns around.  In other games, they may be carriers for the mortar platoon, heavy weapons, or even other Infantry platoons from my DAK Infantry Battalion.
It is definitely safe, however, to assume they will immediately be assigned to my DAK Infantry Battalion, as my Armor Battalion will have only limited wheeled assets.  (recon Sdkfz 222, Forward Artillery Observer also in a 222, and command radio vehicle also in a 222.) Huzzah!  

These things were a pain in the ass to put together.  But they were a bargain.  With shipping cost me the same as 2 battlefront trucks.  You do the math.

The white dry brush gives them that dusty, driven across the desert look to them.  My Humvee in Iraq looked tan by the time our tour had ended.  When it first got to Kuwait it was green NATO camo!!  Bottom line is I don't think you can dry brush enough on desert vehicles.

The Protze.

You know, guys, you don't have to all sit so close to each other, there is plenty of room in the rest of the back to sit.