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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The battle of Cazabellissima

                      I thought I would post the pictures from our previous battle as mentioned. in my previous post. Unfortunately the text is in Spanish but I'll try to help where possible. The game  certainly highlights the finer points of the combined rule set that we use and the logic of the "Altar of Freedom" control system. The battlefield was a scale 7kms x 5kms

                                            The scenario was in Northern Italy after the news of the events of Eckmuhl and Ratisbon and Duke Charles retreat on Vienna had reached John. As a result he decided to withdraw to the east and hope for an eventual combination with the army of Germany. The River at Cazabellisima was a real east-west artery and the high command worried that if Eugene were to capture the town he would quickly bring up his reinforcements by river. Orders were given to delay this and John decided to hold the town for another 24 hours giving his baggage, heavy artillery and bridging trains time to retire further east.  As such he decided on a forward defence. Eugene's intelligence was woefully innefficient and he believed that the Austrians werte running before him and that he outnumbered them by a large margin. He therefore planned on a hammer blow to eliminate their rearguard.
                                              In game terms Eugene despite the fact his divisions had 1 or 2 integral command points each,  decided to abandon control of the clock to the Austrians and ensure the movement of at least one or two large divisions each hour. He felt the risk of the bulk of his troops failing to activate could be lived with.  The Austrians decided the reverse. They would spend their command points on controlling the clock which turned out to be a winning strategy. Eugene's slow painful steam-roller took shape but he failed to watch the clock . The Austrians had a great deal of luck and via a six each impulse the clock moved on 30 minutes each impulse. Their luck held in the ensuing hours and before the French realised it the sun was on high and it was 12 am. Their line still was not formed. When Eugene realised his mistake, panic set in and he began to throw his divisions forward in a piecemeal fashion and without further manoeuvre. For the corps italien this proved a disaster they funnelled into a cauldron of fire and suffered very badly. Eugene was forced to reinforce failure and a further corps entered the same area. The remaining French corps slowly began to force the centre and left flank but it was now 2pm.  The photos end here because the furious and fast nature of the combat that ensued made the game too exciting to record heheheh. The end was inevitable The French did not reach the river before night fall both sides took losses and the Austrians began to retire and head East at first light.

                                           All involved agreed that the game had been fast and furious, had a real Napoleonic feel to it and truly captured the feel of fighting with armies rather than divisions and brigades. The command decisions were subtle and challenging and one and all had a great time including myself as umpire. The rules could take some small tweaks but in general we were nearly where we wanted to be.  As we packed away the game which took just over 5 hours from start to finish whispers were heard of building forces for the 1814 campaigns in France.. Who knows?

                                                       8:00 am                    

Apart from his decision to abandon initiative and the clock Eugene whose view of the battlefield was obscured by the intervening ridges failed to advance his light cavalry to scout out the enemy and advanced the whole Italian corps down his right flank. Had he done so he might have discovered the Austrians were waiting for him in powerful defensive positions.

                                                                          9:00 am                            

 The Austrians were in a strong position among the wheat fields west of Cazabellisima .  To the right of the division lay a grand battery of 36 guns of 6lb positional guns and  3lb guns. It was into this killing ground that Eugene would funnel the Italians.

                                                         9:30 am

                                               As the cavalry division screening the Italians crested the ridge west of the river they discovered the Austrian VIII corps infantry waiting among the corn fields. 


the French continued their  build up blissfully unaware of the rapid passage of time. 

                                                 12:00 am

                          As the sun rose towards it's mid-day position the French commander began to see the light and in a small panic he threw the Italians forward and brought up divisions from the other corps into the centre. However the clock remained firmly in Austrian hands.


                                                        1:00 pm

                                                           The penny dropped however and Eugene ordered several divisions to advance. He still however had reserves waiting to his rear and his failure to control the clock meant they struggled to activate. The piecemeal nature of the attack however warned of blood on the grass and it wasn't wrong.


              What followed was a bloodbath with casualties on both sides. but the positions changed little by last light at 6 pm and the Austrians had won. The truth is that unless Eugene took control of the clock at first light and destroyed VIII corps before IX corps could deploy he had little chance of victory! I didn't of course tell him that till after the game.. heheheh Incidentally the Spanish text was written by the French commander and I had to smile as he slowly saw his error and admitted the reason for his loss. Reading the text was almost as much fun as umpiring the game .

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Confusion to the French

On 14/12 we played yet another game in Northern Italy. The Austrians had decided to hold on a larger river line and Eugene had decided to throw himself at the hugely outnumbered Austrian Force. Now there were two problems with this.:-

1/ The Austrians had roughly the same force levels as the French. They had concealed this as a result of their large superiority in light and medium cavalry.

2/ The Austrian force had been informed by their high command that in their opinion the French were attempting to force the river line before dark and use the river as a supply route.

       Thus the French believing they were going to destroy the weaker Austrian force slowly built their hammer attack  while the Austrians occupied advanced positions  in order to slow the French down and in fact stuck their heads out in order to be chopped off. So to those in the know if the French had simply grasped the initiative they may have eliminated the Austrian advance guard and had a slight chance of winning, while the Austrians could have set up on the river and won the game by default. Reality was very different to those who weren't in the know  heheheh.

       The French commander decided to take his time and prepare a blow that would slaughter the Austrian force. He declined to spend command points on control of the clock, spending his big points to ensure his large divisions moved in the first bids available rather than controlling the clock and hoping the divisions would move by right of integral initiative points.. The Austrians however surrendered movement for control of the time. As a result time flew by. The French moved only a small part of their force , the clock running out before they could move all their troops. The battle had started at 8am and by the time the French commander realised what he had done it was 2pm. He had a battle line but only 4 hours to deliver his attack. In the words of the emperor. " I can recapture terrain but time is lost to me forever!" Once the fighting started it was a vicious and bloody affair but the Austrians had reinforced their positions and the French had no chance of victory. A wonderful battle and a good time was had by all (even the French commander enjoyed himself while trying to make excuses for his actions heheh)

       The game was played using 6mm brigade stands. The rules were a combination of command and control from "altar of freedom" and combat and morale using "snappy nappy" The game was played out in just over 4 hours. Not too shabby when you consider there were 3 French corps and 2 Austrian corps. I have to say that AoF is probably the best attempt at producing variable length turns I have ever seen.  I had managed to paint almost  enough MDF figures to provide the bulk of the French and italians while the Austrians were mainly Adler. Again no one noticed the difference. Unfortunately i only managed one picture and my fellow gamers haven't yet sent me the photos but here for your enjoyment is the one I have, taken at 2 pm just before the French line advanced to combat. 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Curlerman's bunker

                    Little of import to write about at the moment as I am extremely busy on the 6mm project. Our plan to create the two armies of the Austrian campaign is coming along nicely. Apart from that I have been floating around the forums I frequent under the nom de guerre of "curlerman". ( don't ask)
Several have discussed and posted photos of their wargames rooms. Several have rooms bigger then my house and many have tables bigger than my room but I'm still extremely proud of mine, so I thought I would give you an insight!.

                   When we bought our house we bought it knowing that we were basically lazy, preferred to spend our cash on leisure rather than bricks and mortar and hated gardening. So we bought a small house in a great location that would be minimalistic in maintenance terms. The downside was there would be no gigantic wargames room but I can live with that. When my wife decided that we would extend the house slightly to enlarge our living room and bedroom I agreed on condition that I could build a space big enough to have at least token gaming in, even if small. She agreed and "Bob's Bunker" became a reality!

                  The space available was 2 metres 40 x 1 mtre 40. yes that is the size of an average wargames table.  With that in mind I set out to design a space that would have 2 computers, my figure cabinets , a paint space and a wargames table. If "Ikea" can fit a student flat in a 10 x 6, then hell would freeze over before I admitted defeat. So I resigned myself to gaming with 6mm or 10mm figures only (I like those scales anyway) and the fact my gaming table would also be my painting table.  Building it and the furniture was a challenge but I can do that! heheheh.

Here's the end result

   Let me say I am incredibly proud of the bunker. It does exactly what I wanted to do and provides me with a space that is mine. The table at the end of the room is 1.20 m x 0.90 m and provides more than enough space for a single corps snappy nappy game in 6mm. All my scenic tiles are stored under the table on 2 small trolleys and all my precious figures (and curlers) fill every available square inch of the walls. So there it is my idea of heaven.

                I have just rebuilt the garage and that will provide a warm dry space for a larger table but nothing can compare to my bunker. heheheh