Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Battle of Ladonchamps (7 Oct 1870)

I ran this battle last Monday at the excellent Falkirk and District Wargames Club, using Piquet Field Of Battle 2 rules with 15mm figures. 

John & John played the French ... 

.. Douglas & David the Prussians ...

The scenario is based on that in Bruce Weigle's "1870" book, whose scenarios and ORBATs are excellent .. "This was the final engagement of the French Imperial Army, and the last time that the eagles of Napoleon were carried into battle. Marshal Bazaine’s Army had been invested in Metz since 19 August. With the army’s food supply running out, Bazaine made a last attempt to extricate a portion of his army by attacking northwards...".  Bazaine then decided to just make it a raid ...

The key objectives for the French are the fortifications in the centre

and on the Prussian left - which is also defending the line of retreat to the Moselle

These fortifications represent the fortified farms, etc which contained the supplies which the Bazaine intended to recover.

As the battle starts, here in the French centre, with troops pouring across the river .they attack the central fortifications - with the range benefit offered by the Chassepot rifle, frustrating the Landwehr whose Needlegun rifles do not have the range to reply. 

On the French right, troops cross the streams to move in on the fortification on the Prussian left, surrounded by marshy land. The reserve artillery moves boldly too..

.. and the view from those Prussian fortifications ..

Meanwhile, on the French left, Prussian reinforcements emerge, and the French decide to run away for the woods ...

.. and here they are, somewhat congested ...

And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, a division of Prussian Cavalry appears in the centre .. Douglas and David discussed who should take charge of this command .. David says "you can, provided you promise to be suitably rash with them .. "! :-) The 4 regiment cavalry division charges through their infantry and artillery .. and the first regiment is destroyed by French artillery fire .. still, there are 3 left ... but he did what he had agreed :-) ...

Meanwhile on the French right, that reserve artillery is having a decisive impact on the almost-flanked Landwehr in the fortification

And in the centre the French eventually take the central fortification .. in the prolonged absence of any Move cards for the Prussians, and not enough Artillery Reload cards for their liking ..

This proves decisive, as the cavalry are unable to make any headway against the Chassepots and well-managed French artillery. The Prussians are down to zero Army Morale P
oints and choose to call it a day (or ein Tag, I suppose)...

And a good game was had by all it seems, and in under 2.5 hours .. Douglas commented how well the differences between the armies came out in the ranges and power of the artillery and infantry weapons.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Prussic acid dissolves l'attaque

An evening of Franco-Prussian battling on 6th November at the South East Scotland Wargames Club ( which meets in the rather excellent and appropriate facilities provided by the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Association - a great environment, good beer and some quaint Naval rules - like the wearing of hats/caps indoors is forbidden.

I ran a Piquet Field of Battle 2 game, the scenario based on

with the objective being to control points A, B and C.

Prior to the game, I rolled for ratings and provided my usual labels for leaders and units.

Paul O'Sullivan took the part of the "superior" Prussian commander (D12) with an Exceptional" deck

while I had the dubious privilege of being the "abysmal" French commander (D8) with a "Poor" Sequence deck. 

FoB2 sidenote: For the phase CiC v CiC dice roll only, I use 2 D10s, one in French and one in German (so the game is even more educational), with, in this case, the Prussians adding 2 to their roll (to make the probability distributions closer to D12 v D8). For definiteness, turns ended when the unmodified dice rolls were equal.

The Prussian Advance Guard started on the road - 2 regulars, 1 Jaegar and 1 artillery unit. The French were just on the table in centre (2 regulars, 2 Zouaves) and on the right (3 regulars and a Chasseur unit) .. with many of the regulars being "raw".

The French advanced through the muddy fields to suddenly find the Prussians appear on their exposed left flank (courtesy of a triple-move-with-fancy-stuff [ie 3 move segments, with the option to replace any Move segment with a Maneuver (==change facing/deploy)]). Severe damage was done to the most exposed French unit.

However, the French in the centre see the opportunity to attack the flank of the Prussian command .. 

while those on the French right take control of an objective. 

Prussian reinforcements enter the fray - infantry in the centre seeing off the French threat with some panache, (multiple Move cards and Infantry Reload cards just when needed) ...  

Now it's the turn of the French to arrive in force - on their left ... with the possibility of doing some similar damage to the advancing Prussians .. but will they get the cards? 

er .. no .. The French need something to happen as their Army Unit Integrity count is getting very low .. their right flank charges through the woods to hit the flank of the new command.

but the lone supporting Prussian unit fires .. and routs the one attacking French unit that is moving to melee! 

.. then comes the inevitable Major Morale check for the French, whose abysmal leader die left little hope for anything other than an inglorious retreat .. 
The game finished in under 2 hours .. it was over before the arrival of either the Prussian reserve or the dithering French cavalry (perhaps led by Gen. Zeb Stuarte?)

Friday, 17 October 2014

One of the D'Arc-est Knights ...

Had my first introduction to the sights and sounds of SESWG [South East Scotland Wargaming Group] on a regular games night - Thursday - in this case 16th October 2014 .. Through the Piquet list, I'd arranged to meet with Paul O'Sullivan, a member of said group, who had offered to put together a Piquet Band of Brothers scenario set in the Hundred Years War. (c 1430 I'm led to understand - before my time ...). I've been remiss in not taking any photos of any participants of size greater than the 15mm scale (next time it's a photo of you Paul too), and such photos as they are come courtesy of AndroidPhone ..

[Piquet sidebar: Paul played 20 pip phases, with the rule of 1/3 variant which takes the number of pips won by the D20s counter-roll, and splitting that up, giving 1/3 (rounded down) to the losing player. For example, if the difference in D20 rolls was 10 (and there are at least 10 remaining in the phase) the winner would get 7 and the loser 3. If there were less than 10, whatever remains is divided similarly. Anyway back to the game .. ]

Paul generously gave me Joan of Arc and ze French, made up of a collection of many unpronounceable names & characteristics (that is, for one usually found in games in the 19th and 20th century), while he took the Anglo-Burgundians. [We then rolled for commander & troop quality and drew cards for Morale chips in classic PK style].

For those for whom the aforementioned names might have meaning, here are the orders of battle:


Joan d'Arc

Household Knights
2 x Feudal Knights (foot)
Crossbow Skirmisers

French Crossbowmen

Bombards (nice medium artillery)
2 x Peasants
2 x Brigands

The hill in front of the camp had the bombards, peasants and 1 of the brigands. In front of the hill are Joan and the Knights, Joan being attached to the D12+1 Mounted Knights ..., and the remainder in a unit on the left ..


2 x Burgundian Knights

2 x French Men At Arms (foot)
Valets d'Armes (heavy lance, so I'm told)

2 x English Archers (cue Radio 4 Music [UK joke])
Low Countries Pikemen
Low Countries Guildsmen
English Men At Arms (Foot)

Knights on the left, Archers in middle and Valets and MAA on right .. some class 2 fields and some to-be-annoying (for the Archers) high corn in the middle.

This is what the Burgundian Knights were up against on the Burgundian left

The French got off to a good start, the bombards causing enough damage in one of the Burgundian Knights for them to lose a stand ..

The Burgundian Knights are engaged ..

.. and destroyed .. the impact causes the building to shake, blurring the photo .. ahem ..

Meanwhile the Valets are moving down their right

and the Low Countrymen move up into the centre, hoping maybe to attack the lone Feudal Knights ...

But the French finish off the Burgundian Knights

.. and get the impetus and cards to threaten more of the same in the centre ...

At last the Valets reach the end of the fields, but fail to turn ,and are hit in the flank by the Coustilliers, who themselves suffer long-range damage from the English Archers ... but the melee doesn't work out well for the French, and the Burgundians now turn to face the weakened French cavalry ... and have the upper hand

 it gets worse for the French ..  the commander is killed!

The Valets go on to rout the Voulgiers and French Crossbowmen in the French centre - both occurring as sequential flank attacks, with the French troops being unable to change their facing - leaving the Camp in the sights of the victorious Burgundian cavalry .. apart from a small matter of the bombard, some peasants and brigands ...

At this point time was called . both sides low on morale chips .. and lots of what-might-have-beens ... Exciting and fun .. Great game Paul!