Tally Ho!

Monday 30 May 2022

The Blue and the Grey


Those with long memories might recall this 1980's TV mini series about the ACW - that's my lose link into the fact I'm painting some ACW Union units for a campaign later in the year. 

ACW Union infantry in 28mm

Figures are Perry Miniatures 28mm plastics - the newer sets are more dynamic than the older ones but at the cost of the dreaded two-arms-on-a-weapon that you need to align. 

ACW Union officer in 28mm

The game is mass-skirmish so about 50 figures a side for 2 players.

Saturday 21 May 2022

Shadow of the Eagles - Attack on the farm, 1814'ish

For this week games I took inspiration from the video blog of local gamer JP and his Battle of Heurtebise Farm that can be found here (149) The Battle of Heurtebise Farm 1814 - Black Powder - YouTube

I've tweaked it for SOTE play and expanded the game as we would be two a side, by adding some reinforcements for the defender. On the day we changed the forces to French vs Swedes / British as some people wanted to use some figures they had.

The French deployed with the infantry pointed straight at the farm, the Guards on the more open western edge in case the Swedes pushed their cavalry to that side.  The French cavalry massed in the east ready to sweep around into the rear.   

French Guards ready to advance

French horse prepare to attack

In this version the British were holding the farm with 2 battalions in the building and a battalion in cover on either side. The Swedes were marching on from Turn 2, with their cavalry on the west opposite the Guard.

Swedes to the rescue?

The assault began with a rapid advance from the French cavalry and a more cautious push from the infantry as they sought to soften up the defenders of the farm. 

British Lights holding the west flank of the farm

The French heavies made rapid progress and had the intended effect of forcing the Swedes to slow their march and deploy forces to face the attackers.  

Over on the west flank the Swedish cavalry moved forward but got a bit too close to the Guards and took some fire causing a few crucial hits.  This meant that when they charged the Guard were able to volley them to a halt and then eventually drive them away. 

Guards see off the Swedish cavalry

The sweeping move gets into position

With the Swedes halted the French threw their columns into the farm to capture it. Initially they were held but numbers and quality told with half the farm falling to the Guards after two rounds of combat. The reinforcements were pinned by French horse and so a further turn later the whole farm fell.

In the end the French plan worked very well and the Swedes were unable to influence the battle. The key choice was the place the Swedish cavalry on the western flank, hoping to slow the Guards. It may have been better to have faced down the French horse in the east - they would have lost but could have bought several turns for the infantry to make it to the farm.     

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?