Tally Ho!

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.  

Saturday 16 April 2022

Shadow of the Eagles - blast from the past

For a break from the 1813/14 historical battles we've been doing recently we played a scenario from CS Grant's scenario book this week.  I picked Significant Terrain, which involved both sides trying to capture and hold a key road junction. Back to two tables this week, with me playing the Russians on table 2.

Table 1 - Germans vs Prussians /Austrians

In this game the two sides had opposing plans; the Germans went for an infantry centre with horse on the flanks. The allies went with a centre of horse and the infantry attacking  up the flanks using the houses as cover.

German cavalry advance

The early action was dictated by the Allies as their cavalry attacked straight up the middle to delay the Germans, while the infantry inclined to flood the area between the houses.  

The Allied cavalry scatter the Germans attacking the centre 

The first attack was pretty successful at pushing the Germans back and forced the German cavalry to swing into the centre to protect their foot. A ding-dong cavalry clash ensued that was destructive on both sides.  

Cavalry slug it out

With both sides cavalry scattered, the infantry columns got stuck-in with a second phase of close quarters fighting around the road junction. 

It was very much last-man-standing with the Austrians in control of the junction when the smoked cleared and no Germans able to mount a further attack. 

The last unit standing in the centre

So an Allied Victory -  in this case the clever use of the houses to funnel the action into the centre helped the Allies as it made it hard for the Germans to outflank them and so exploit their  wider deployment. 

Table 2 - French vs Prussians / Russians

The French pushed forward in the centre with their horse and an infantry brigade plus the divisional reserves on the west side of the board. The Allies pushed the heavy horse up the middle backed by the Prussian foot, with the Light horse heading east. The Russians deployed 2 battalions against the French flanking force and used the rest to support the Prussians.   

The French take the hill

The French horse on the hill were in a no-lose position if charged  as even if they failed the counter-charge role they would be defending the hill and so negate the Allies charge. So initially the  Allies held off while they moved their infantry and guns into position to hold the road junction.  

French deploy to meet a flanking threat

In the west the French made their initial attack but were slowed by accurate Russian artillery fire and so their advanced slowed to a crawl. Centrally the allies decided the time was right in turn 3 and so charged the heavies up the hill while the lights moved into a flanking position.  

The French western flank attack

The Allied cuirassiers were able to rout the French dragoons holding the hill and push back the infantry following up.  This left the Prussians in control of the junction.  

The only French threat was now  the flanking force moving up in the west and so to prevent them intervening the Russians launched a series of attacks to slow the advance. They  burst through the first line and forced the French to redeploy to face the threat, so ending the assault.  

The Russians break through

So another Allied Victory -  the basic Allied plan had worked pretty well here; pin the French cavalry in the centre for a couple of turns and then send some forces to the flanks in the hopes of distracting a greater number and deny them mass in the centre.  

Sunday 10 April 2022

Sudan Egyptians in 28mm

I've been progressing my Sudan project quietly since lockdown 2 and I'm very nearly ready with some decent sized forces. The last of the Imperial forces are some Egyptian infantry - this is the last of two units. 

28mm Egyptian command for the Sudan

Sudan Egyptians

All figures are from Perry Miniatures Mahdist range.


Saturday 9 April 2022

Shadow of the Eagles - La Rothiere, January 1814

Something a little different this week as we took a break from 1813 Germany and instead went to France in 1814. We look in this game at Murat's flank at La Rothiere, with the French hoping to delay the advancing Austrian / Prussian forces.

Both sides started with some cavalry on the table and infantry advancing onto the field over the first couple of turns.

Allied horse first to the field

French lights await them

Looking to buy time, the French cavalry advanced against the Allied horse and arriving infantry. 

The attack met with mixed results - the lights bounded off the doughty Prussian foot but their heavy cousins were able to push back the advancing Austrians before being charged in the flank by some Allied  reinforcements. 

The Allies main reinforcements deployed on the eastern flank looking to make quickly for the village, hoping to bypass the French main lines, whilst the Prussians in the west tried to pressure the defenders.  

Allied flanking attack

As the infantry advanced the newly arrived allied light cavalry cut across the centre of the battle field looking to support the infantry attacking in the west.   

Prussians attack in the west

The Allies made decent progress but were unable to reach the village before nightfall and so the French slipped away in the dark with their delaying action complete. The key was probably the banzai cavalry attack which although wiped-out did delay the Allies for 2 turns and knock the Austrian infantry out of the game.