Saturday, July 25, 2009

An amazing wargames room...

Over at Echoes of Glory there is a wargames room unlike any other being put together... the proprietor not only has some insane toy soldier collections, but has so many original weapons, uniforms, and accoutrements that it is truly a sight to behold... if you do not go RIGHT over there and give it a look, you will regret it... the wargames table is not yet in, so it is a perfect time to really get a look at all the amazing antiques!

So get over there and give it a look... and don't forget to scroll to a few of the more recent posts to see some insanely huge and beautiful 25mm ACW figures.

And check back in a few days and he'll even have the first shots of his table up... some amazing pieces of terrain that have been tucked away in closets for half a dozen years, all about to finally come out of hiding!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More 10mm Nappy shots... here comes the cavalry!

Here are some more shots from the "nice camera" photo shoot this weekend!

This time it is of the end of the British line, where waves of French cavalry are charging home... the French are attempting to cross the small stream and sweep down the British lines, but the British have formed square, using the chateau to protect their flank. Will the redcoats hold off the French cuirassiers, dragoons, hussars, and the rest? Or will the cavalry break a square and slaughter their way down the line?! Who knows!

What is almost the most ridiculous about this is I have maybe twice as much French cavalry as shown, but I ran out of reasonable table space:)

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Battle of Aroldo Valley... the end is here!

Hey all! Well, as promised, here is the FINAL part of the Battle of Aroldo Valley!

Here is a link to a basic intro to the rules...

And then here is
Part 1

Part 2

and Part 3!

Now on to the finale!
So... when last we checked in on this peaceful valley in southern France, the two main lines were just about to crash into each other. The British, having hit both flanks and been turned back, redeployed and attacked the center, hoping to keep their flanks clear. However the French have not played along, and the Old Guard holding the chateau on the far flank have attacked, along with a brigade of cavalry, in an attempt to roll up the British line. Meanwhile in the center long waves of British and their allies have attacked... will they be able to punch through?!
On the far flank the Old Guard come plunging through the orchards around the chateau and hit the British, whose columns were just starting to form into square. On the flank comes charging a French cavalry brigade, seeing a chance to either keep the British in square (and thus easy pickings for the French) or to roll up the British lines if they deploy! This British brigade, which was already battered from Wellington's first attack on the chateau, trembled and one or two battalions broke and ran as the cavalry crashed into them. The remaining battalions held on, hoping that their thick columns would help keep the cavalry away and help keep their morale strong, even if it gave up the fire advantage of lines...

In the center the British attack hit home. The Brunswickers made up the first wave and were pounded mercillessly from both the front and the flank, where a brigade of Old Guard managed to engage the attackers. Cannister and musketballs scythed through the black uniformed men, leaving smears of gore through the wheat as more men pushed forward to fire. The Allied battalions on the flank turned to exchange fire with the Old Guard and the attack began to slow... while the British had far more men than the French, the French were in cover along the road and were able to begin whittling away at the attack from two sides.

In an attempt to push the Old Guard off of their near flank, the British advanced their next wave in lines and began to engage the French brigade behind the stone walls. They also charged home with a regiment of heavy cavalry, hoping to run the heavy Guard columns off and thus protect the flank of the attack.

While the cavalry slaughtered a great many of the Guard they were seen off by the elite troops who did not give ground, and by the musketfire into the flank of their charge. Seeing the cavalry rout, the allied battalions on the flank of the attack began to waver, and a last massive volley of musket and cannon fire saw the edge battalions break and rout back up the hill...
Meanwhile on the far flank the desperate British brigade, with the Duke himself screaming orders, managed to actually throw back the Old Guard attackers, who were themselves already worn from the earlier attack on the chateau. But as the British soldiers cheered the French cavalry then crashed home, smashing into the columns of red.

But as the British soldiers cheered the French cavalry then crashed home, smashing into the columns of red.

The British officers, seeing the flanks of the attack beginning to crumble, finally ordered the charge! The Brunswickers charged forwards, French volleys slaughtering them as they came, and they came right into the hedgerows and began to stab out with their bayonets...

But it was a desperate attack, as the Brunswickers had already been pounded by artillery since the battle began, the British artillery unable to support them. While they managed to sweep some of the French artillery away, they were unable to budge the French infantry. The Brunswickers began to break, and just as they did the Old Guard on their near flank edged closer, unleashing volley and devastating volley into the men... and the British attack began to dissolve!

In a desperate attempt to help British Colonel Archer changed the Old Guard with his cavalry, trying to rescue the British attack. His cavalry came close (his light cavalry even managing to sweep up the French battery deployed on the far edge of the road, a battery which they had ATTEMPTED to take way back in the first few turns when it was deploy on the hillside) but overall they simply could not break the dense columns of Guard, who were supported by musketfire coming from behind the stone walls.

Unable to break the French lines, with their own terrified men running back through them and their flanks crushed, the British attack broke. The Prince of Orange fled, his entire division running for the hills, along with brigades of British infantry from Wellington and Picton's divisions...

... and the battle ended. While the British still had elements of their army that could fight, the French had far more men, artillery, and cavalry ready to fight.

And so the British fled the field.

The French held the road which formed their center and their two flanks.

On the near flank Colonel Vin's brigade held where they had held the entire battle; in the field behind the stone walls. Despite the early cavalry rush that cost the French half of their cavalry and a late rush of enemy cavalry and infantry, the near French flank never fell.

On the far flank the French were almost totally wiped out... but Colonel Lebrique still held the chateau with a single battalion of Old Guard, who had actually sallied out at the very end of the fight to help collapse the far British flank.

And so! Victory for France! After losing the last two games, the French, though outnumbered, managed to fight off the British attack and hold the important Viscioux road that leads through the Aroldo valley and to Paris... victoire pour la France!!

Overall the game was VERY satisfiying. It had many different layers and levels, from the early stages where the cavalry clashed on one flank and the British attacked on the other, to the middle stage where the British redeployed almost their entire army, to the final stage, where the British attack crashed home... there were satisfying moments all along! There are still a few places I need to look at the rules... the skirmishing still needs a little work, and I am still trying to refine where being "elite" is figured into the equation... as of right now it is only in close combats and in determining whether a unit Stands!... but should it also figure into shooting? I am not sure!

So... that is that! Soon enough I'll play another game, and hopefully folks will enjoy it!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Beautiful 10mm Napoleonic photos

Howdy all!

Whelp, I had an eight hour photo shoot this weekend of my toy soldiers, the majority of which was devoted to the 10mm Napoleonics. So, without further ado, a few shots from "The Shoot!" I'll put up more as time goes on over the next few weeks, so please do check back!

First up... some photos of French columns attacking a defending British line! There is a small stream to cross, but once they are across, look out!

And again, if you click on the photos and for some reason cannot make them fit the screen, try right-clicking and then "View image" Works for me!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Faces of War...

Some nice hi-res shots of soldiers...

Howdy all!

I got my hands on a very nice camera for a day long project, and once I finished it up I took a few shots of... what else? Toy soldiers! Too tired to write much now, but enjoy!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Battle of Aroldo Valley, Part 3

When last we checked in, the battle had seen a few flare-ups of violence, but no true dedication of forces.

First, on the near flank a French cavalry brigade has been swept away as it got caught, encircled, and crushed by two British brigades. On the far flank a British attack stalled at the high walls of the chateau which were guarded by a brigade of Old Guard and pushed back, one British brigade being mauled but withdrawing in order and an Allied brigade being caught in the open by French cavalry and swept away. Now the French cavalry on that flank have paused and await another chance to sweep across the field. On the near flank the British still face a heavily dug in French brigade behind thick stone walls guarding the French flank... would it be possible to dig these Frenchmen out?

No. The British commander has decided on a new plan; namely, hit the center of the French line, where they have the least cover and really only a single brigade (albeit a brigade heavily supported by 3 batteries of artillery...) The British commander plans to leave behind one of the British brigades that was going to attack the chateau in square to cover the flank of the attack, linking up with the forest so the French cavalry that already swept away the Allied brigade will be unable to attack. All of the remaining British and Allied infantry would then be redeployed towards the center, with the cavalry hopefully keeping the French behind the stone walls from coming out to attack the flank of the British attack.

In anticipation of this attack the British began to redeploy towards the center. First they brought up some of their light guns to within cannister range and began to pound the French brigade behind the stone walls. While they might not do a ton of damage, they could at least hope to weaken the French, knowing that the French had no cavalry they could attack with and that they would not leave the protection of their stone walls. Just in case, however, the British cavalry on the near flank began to redeploy further out... while they were further from their commanders they could also help pin the French behind their stone walls. Some of the British cavalry under the rather incompetent Colonel Hakeswill, who had already shown a disregard for the Prince of Orange's commands, actually rushed at the stone wall, attracting cannon fire and then musket fire and taking a number of casualties before falling back again.

Meanwhile the bulk of the British infantry redeployed towards the thin French center. It was slow going, as the British troops were a bit spread out and communication was strained. However eventually the British troops began to get into position, coming towards the center from both flanks as their already depleted artillery rained fire down on the French.

The French did not just watch this happen. While their two flank brigades were largely pinned in place (the near flank by threatening cavalry and artillery and being happy behind their stone walls, the Old Guard on the far flank happy behind the chateau walls) they did redeploy a brigade of infantry from the road behind the chateau. Since it was clear the British were no longer going to try to swamp the chateau the infantry brigade moved towards the center and took up position behind the hedgerows along the road. At the same time the French brought their artillery batteries to the center and prepared to pound the English as they advanced. The British were not stupid, of course, and did their best to keep their men behind the hill in the center, where the two Allied brigades under the Prince of Orange actually managed to regain their nerve a bit after being hit by artillery earlier in the battle.

So that is where we find ourselves... the British redeploying towards center, using their cavalry on the near flank to try to pin the defending French infantry brigade in place and their light guns to pound on them. On the far flank the British are attempting to cover their flank (using the woods as an anchor) with squares to keep the cavalry away while they funnel their men into the attack on the center!

On the near flank the cavalry brigade under Colonel Hakeswill was hit again by artillery and the light cavalry regiment actually broke and ran, never to return, while Hakeswill himself ignored yet another order from his division commander and withdrew his men. In order to save face, Colonel Archer of Picton's division moved his cavalry brigade forward and began to eye the end of the French lines... could he swing around the French behind their walls and actually sweep down on the French artillery? While far from his commanding officer, it seemed like a good gamble to take...

Meanwhile the British funnelled closer and closer towards the center, and the Old Guard in the chateau itself began to fire at the nearest British troops, whose officers were trying to judge exactly where the squares would need to be formed to best protect the flank. The British artillery, which had been plagued by counter-battery fire and ineffective fire, finally found its groove and began to cause casualties on the French brigade holding the road, even causing the regiment farthest on the flank to began to edge backwards, and actually broke and ran! Sacre Bleu! Colonel Paris, who held the road, was furious but trusted his regimental officers to get the men reformed and back into line before long.

Then all at once the British pressed home. As the infantry began its overall attack on the center Colonel Archer saw an opening and spurred his cavalry brigade foward in an attempt to sweep into the French artillery from the flank... if only he could keep his communication with ever-further-away General Picton for long enough to launch the attack it might just work!

At the same time the nearmost British infantry brigade, under Colonel Norris (and RIGHT under the watchful eye of Picton himself) began to advance on the stone walls, hoping to at least help pin the French there while the attack in the center hit home and while the cavalry threatened their rear.

Unfortunately Colonel Archer's ploy failed! The Guard regiment on the near flank under Colonel Canard and temporarily the direct command of Marshal Ney, which had remained stationary and silent so far, turned to face the oncoming cavalry and, maybe judging the opportunity lost and unable to get further orders from General Picton, Colonel Archer ordered his cavalry back to wait for a better opportunity.

Meanwhile the British attack in the center rolled over the ridgeline and down across the fields towards the French at the lane! Skirmishers opened fire on the French artillery pieces which filled the air with clouds of cannister shot. The lines had not yet made contact, but the battle had truly been joined!

The British around the chateau were finally in position as well, and British troops began to round the chateau and lend their fire to the fight in the center. However, the French were not merely going to sit there and let it happen. Marshal Soult, seeing that his men could be caught without being able to attack, actually pressed the Old Guard to attack! The British, who were just beginning to form square (and hoping to hold the cavalry off) suddenly had to stop and stay in column in order to begin to fire on the Guard... a chain of squares could not possibly fight Napoleon's best! However, just as they began to return fire at the advancing Guard Colonel Porthos began to advance his cavalry, which had regained their breath after running over the Duke of Wellington's Allied attack on the chateau earlier... and Wellington realized that his flank, which he had hoped to hold against cavalry with big squares of redcoat infantry, was actually about to come under attack from a mixed force, a mixed force which could possibly collapse the entire flank of his attack...

So that is where the battle is left... the British have dedicated themselves to their attack on the center, an attack that is moments away from crashing home all across the French lines. Wellington has attempted to pin the two French flanks in place, the near one with some cavalry and British lines, the other with squares, but a French counter-attack on the far flank looks to put the entire British attack in danger!

Tune in soon for the finale of the battle (which has to end because I need the table by Thursday for another project! :) )