Tally Ho!

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Shadow of the Eagles - Battle of Sawmill Village

For this week's game we played one of the most gamed scenarios in history - I think its featured as a table-top teaser and in C S Grants book. Possibly in Charge! as well. Yes, its Sawmill village the classic encounter game.  In our version its French + Germans vs British + Prussians. I commanded the Prussians.

The French were first onto the field and opted to focus all their infantry either side of the road in tight columns. Cavalry formed the flanks on both sides with some skirmishers far out on the west side. The allies largely mirrored this with two tweaks - they placed both Lights in the western woods (one under the CinC's command) and left more space between the columns so they could easily form a firing line.    

The French pushed forward with the cavalry leading the way. The western horse heading into the centre to avoid the woods. The leading French Hussars on the east ran into some British Dragoons and were forced back in a worn state.   

Germans seize the village

Both side infantry headed for the village, with the French first to occupy the buildings due to superior initiative.    

Hanoverians subbing for British 

The cavalry clashes continued with the Prussians assisted by shooting from the woods and nearby guns giving them a clear advantage in the centre. In the east the heavies stood off before the  French were forced to charge as they were under fire from British guns. They were halted and pushed them back, leaving the Allies in control of the east flank.      

Heavies stand off

Centrally the Prussians charged into the village and were able to evict the Germans from the building they held and then pour fire into the supporting units. The Prussian heavies routed their opposite numbers, again aided by fire from the woods.   

Prussians take part of the village

The British were able to flank the French position and fire into them from 2 sides whilst cavalry lurked in the rear preventing them from deploying the support they would have liked,  

French under pressure in the village

Prussians dominate the woods

The game ended with the Allies in clear control of the village and French horse routed or destroyed.  The forces were pretty equal but the tactics varied on the night - the Allies placed more emphasis on shooting and so went into all the combats with a slight edge as the French casualties were higher, that plus some below par French rolls on a couple of turns secured the Village for the Allies. 


Sunday, 8 May 2022

28mm Sudan - the project is done !

After over a year of painting my lock-down 3 project is finally done with the completion of the final two units for the Sudan - some Ansar and a Beja command stand. 


We'll be playing The Men Who Would Be Kings and plan to start in early June. I've done enough for 2 players a side to pit the Mahdists vs British / Egyptians.  The campaign will feature postings to the Sudan or NWF to accommodate all 9 players available. 

Beja command

As always done is never done so I might add some Camel Corps in the future, which means more Mahdists, which are quick to paint so its not too much of a pain.


Saturday, 7 May 2022

Shadow of the Eagles - Cliché ridge rebooted

As a number of players missed last weeks game we refought the battle of Cliché Ridge, but with different commanders. Will the plans. the dice and the results be different? 

The Allied deployment was the same as last week. The French opted for a slightly different plan though - infantry columns were massed against the longer ridge and cavalry held back on their right, with all the guns as a hinge between.   

The massed columns pushed towards the hill at full speed picking up a few hits as they did so. This led to 3 battalions attacking each of the British battalions. They shot pretty well but could not stop the steamroller as the hits were disrupted across the line.    

The British recoiled back in reasonably good order while the French reformed and pushed over the ridge with their fresher units. As the Prussians and cavalry arrived, the French were in control of the ridge and their cavalry was moving around the edge of the hill to the north.  

The Prussians advanced to fill the hole left by the British but with horse to their flank and the French now reinforced they were unable to retake the lost ground. So a second win for the French attackers in this scenario. If we fight again it would be tempting to make one of the attacking Brigades reinforcements arriving on turn 2 at table edge.     

Table 2 - Rome vs Dacia

On the second table we tried our some new (to me) Ancients rules - Gripping Beasts Sword point. Its a pretty simple set of rules with no command friction per sea. Where the restrictions come in is that most units have fairly limited manoeuvrability, especially close to the enemy or if deviating from moving straight ahead.

The other major mechanic is a "builder / spender" one using momentum tokens. You gain momentum through doing things like damaging the enemy or winning combats. All can be spent  boost combat performance but with some restricted to the melee that generated them and some usable globally.    

The game looks nice and clean with a basing system that matches my figures, so I bought a copy from GB.



Sunday, 1 May 2022

Shadow of the Eagles - battle of Cliché Ridge

 I'm naming this Cliché Ridge as it contains all the elements so beloved of wargamers; Rifles in the woods, Brits defending a crest, Prussians marching to the rescue, the Old Guard and French Lancers (I've no Polish to hand). Its another from the CS Grant book. 

The British are holding a forward defensive position on a ridge awaiting their Prussian allies. Rifles hold the woods and some Hussars cover the opposite flank.   

To add a little additional colour I've some Hanoverians instead of one of the British units. The Prussians are on the road in column with some British Dragoons for company. 

Hanoverian foot aka The Postmen

The French deployed in a shallow arc, with the Guard in the centre looking to storm the largest hill. The cavalry were on the right looking to work their way around the top of the hill. 

The Old Guard ready to go

The game began with the British pulling back over the ridge and setting a trap for the French horse should they choose to advance down the flank.  

The cunning trap

The French decided not to take the bait, although this did risk them taking long range fire from a square positioned to  protect the left flank of the British line. Instead they focused on pushing the columns up to try and take the ridge-line unopposed. Guns were positioned to deter the British from hopping back over the crest. 

Although mostly safe, this British deployment did leave the square holding the flank in an advanced position  and so exposed to fire from the horse artillery brought up in support of the cavalry. As casualties began to grow the French opted for a bold move, pushing the Lancers across the front of the square to threaten the flank of a unit just behind the create.  It was a gamble but did push the Brits back off the hill entirely.  

British flank at risk

This led to the French being able to capture the ridge largely unopposed and then push over the top and down the road into the waiting Prussians. The Fire from the British and Prussians was somewhat substandard and they were quickly beaten in a vicious melee.  So a win for France.   

Guards take the ridge and push on

The game was actually concluded pretty quickly with the French taking the ridge in about 2 hours play. The key decision was perhaps for the British not to hold the ridge but fall back to avoid artillery fire from the French. Could they have risked staying put and tried to disrupt the French advance?  

Saturday, 23 April 2022

Shadow of the Eagles - bridgehead breakout

Another of my favourites from the C S Grant scenario book is the breakout following a successful river crossing. The book calls for pontoons but we went with stone bridges.

The defending French were fanned out across a low ridge that looked down on the river crossing, with their cavalry held behind the lines in reserve. Slightly forward of the lines a veteran unit held a small farm.  

French in the east

Germans hold the centre

French in the west

The Allies were arrayed east to west as Russian, Austrian, and Prussian. The central Austrians were the only ones with space to really expand out. Waiting across the rover were cavalry and infantry reserves. I took command of the Prussians on the Allied west flank. 

Russians in the east

Central Austrians

Prussians on the west flank

In recent games both the players who controlled the French this week had been big advocates of attacking from defence to delay the enemy and stop an orderly attack forming. It was a surprise then to the Allies that the French opted to retreat behind the crest and leave only their guns showing. 

This spurred the Allies on, who quickly unfurled their larger force and  pushed forward with their cavalry into the heart of the French defences, pinning them behind the ridge.  

This allowed the Allies to position their infantry for attacks onto the ridge with no hinderance from the French beyond their artillery, who were soon silenced or attacked. The Russian cavalry managed to work their way through a gap in the French positions and found themselves in the enemy rear.

The French plan had been to hide from the Allies guns and then pop over the ridge to deliver volleys into the advancing Allies. They miscalculated though and found the Allies had occupied the ridge before they could oppose them, So it was the French who found themselves on the move whilst the Allies  could stand and fire.   

The only place they had success was against the Russians in the East as the leading brigade was blown away, but they were soon replaced by the reinforcements crossing the river.  

Prussians take the ridge

Russians take their ridge

Within a couple of turns it was all over as the French  were out-shot by the Prussians / Austrians and charged by the Russians. The defences melted and by turn 5 the Allies controlled the ridge. The decisive factor was probably the decision not to try and interfere with the Allies as they looked to expand out from the crowed bridgehead.  

The centre just before it fell

Honourable mention goes to a unit of Italian Leger who managed to hold a wood against repeated Russian assaults. They stood firm while the line routed about them.