Sunday, December 27, 2009

Open Column Of Companies Forms To The Right

A second vignette adapted from Paddy Griffiths, French Napoleonic Infantry Tactics 1792-1815. (Osprey Elite Series Booklet #159) Paddy's remarks and diagrams were adapted from the 1791 Réglement concernant l'exercice et les manoeuvres de l'infanterie as follows: (Click on photos so each fills your screen.)
Date: 1792
Situation: Trouble approaching the right flank through a defile.

Two mounted squadrons of 1st Hussars (formerly Bercheney from my SYW l'Ancien Régime Army) while a third is dismounted firing carbines at a foe coming through the defile. An officer rides in earnest to the rear to report what is seen.

He reports to the Chef de Batallion.

They converse. The battalion is in open column of companies. (See remarks below)

The battalion will quarter wheel (ninety degrees) by company to the right and form line.

The Colonel and his drums post themselves at what will be the center rear of the new formation.

The drums immediately commence beating this order for all to hear while officers and NCOs in the rear make sure the command is understood and instantly obeyed.

Each company wheels simultaneously. We are mid-way through the wheel.

Finished and ready to face the threat.

En avant mes amis. Bon chance!
Closing Remarks
1. Eight companies were common for 1791-1808 French line battalions. The Grenadiers are absent - again.
2. The eight companies were merged from two battalions in my collection for this vignette.
3. One of the special things we can all consider doing is moving each company as shown.
4. Never mind lifting and plopping them down. Instead, march them to their next position using your movement rates. It might take more or less than one turn. You might even need time to adjust left and right, etc. just like they really did. Are your movement rates sufficient?
5. Practice privately before game day to get intervals just right. Get your lads onto a quiet drill field to train them -- and you.
6. The battalion started in an open column of companies. The interval between each company front to back was measured so the quarter wheel occurs without bumping and creating an entangled muddle. The above does not seem to visually simulate the larger interval actually used. This is because the depth of miniatures is far greater than in history. I used a 1" interval.
7. At the start of the wheel (pivot) hold down the upper right-hand corner of each movement tray while wheeling the same tray in a clockwise manner with your other hand. It was not perfect but was close enough. At first my intervals were almost 3". Nope. After wheeling about five times and changing the interval, a 1" gap worked best. It will be different for you. This is why practice is needed.
8. Start at the top. It is best to wheel all companies half way first. When all are half way through their wheel, go back to the top and finish the last half of the march. A two-step process.
9. If the battalion was "closed", meaning in our case, with all trays touching front to back, this formation change is impossible.
10. A new kind of fun. Different and satisfying.
11. You CAN do this with your collection -- as is. Let us know how things turn out.
12. The nice thing about the French Bercheney Hussars of the Seven Years' War is that their 1791 uniform is similar to that worn in the SYW. All I did was switch out the SYW flags for GMB Napoleonic 1804 flags. Lucky me.
13. Comments welcome immediately below.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Game Cancelled! So Instead....

December 26th. was supposed to be a game day with our new 1806ish Napoleonics at the home of Der Alte Fritz. Several weather and health issues regrettably discombobulated all of us. Hopefully Der Alte will reschedule soon.

In preparation for the game I read portions of Paddy Griffiths, French Napoleonic Infantry Tactics 1792-1815. (Osprey Elite Series Booklet #159) In order to do something Napoleonic tonight I returned to Paddy's remarks and diagrams from the 1791 Réglement concernant l'exercice et les manoeuvres de l'infanterie as follows:    (Click on photos so each fills your screen.)

From 1791 to 1808, battalions consisted of nine companies. One was grenadier; usually absent. Above are eight center companies in a three rank line with centered battalion flag and NCO guards. Behind and also centered are all the drummers with the battalion commander. Two officers and two NCOs  form a fourth rank to help keep the men in line and in order.

The battalion from a different angle. Four converged grenadier companies are in support on the left flank.

A closer look at the grenadiers. Each company  was stripped away from its parent battalion for a special service needing higher quality soldats.

Back to the line battalion again. "En Avant mes amis!"

It's 1792, here anyway. A Prussian battalion tops the distant rise.

Qui sont-ils? Who are they?
Closing Remarks:
1. Our French battalions are not sized as shown. I merged eight center companies from two battalions to form one battalion from the 1791 regulation.
2. The next installment will show a 1791 battalion column.
3. Miniatures are 25mm Dixons with some Old Glory command personnel too. I really like the design of the leaning mounted officer.
4. French painted by Reinforcements By Post.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


5 December 1759/2009 viewed from the French side.
Click on images to enjoy them in full color and wide screen.

Left Flank: The ultimate goal of the French flanking force was the Pegasus Bridge. A piquet of soldiers stealthily walked within the woods beside the Brittlebach and waited for their moment to rush the bridge. Only one third of the force arrived before Turn 1. The rest straggled behind in the woods arriving later.

Left Flank: In quieter moments days before the battle, The Pegasus Bridge guard is apparently asleep or unconcerned in nearby tents whilst a larger camp farther away also appears too quiet. Subsequent French reconnaissance revealed a sleepy and mostly inert von Kleist Freikorps posted there with the mission to guard this bridgehead east of the Brittlebach.

Left Flank: On 5 December the French Legion de Fischer supported by the celebrated Bercheney Hussars and by the Jacobite emigre battalion Albanie hurled themselves onto the bridgehead. They ignored a piquet of Doubleblues posted as a tripwire along a tributary of the Brittlebach (foreground). The bridge is to the right of the supply wagon in the upper right corner of the photograph. Unseen there in cover was a piquet of Albanie (24) that infiltrated secretly to the bridge, later attacked and captured it from the bridge guard.

Center Left Side: Beyond the Brittlebach (off screen left of the photo) and the Brittlebach Ridge, we view the main French Army arriving to assault the town of Brittlestadt. In the foreground a Russian battalion marches forward supported to its right by Swiss. A battalion of French Converged Grenadiers is to their rear. In the distance we go to the....

Center Right Side: There is mischief afoot. The Saxon von Brühl Dragoons (4 squadrons) are boiling into the defile to take the Prussians in the western zone in the flank. The redcoats are a second battalion of Swiss while blue coats are two battalions of Grenadiers de France. This will be a serious threat!

Center Right Side: Close up of The Defile!

Right Flank: The plain below the Protzen Heights. A stately affair here.

Right Flank Right Side: On the Protzen Heights the dreaded Black Hussars have somehow arrived at the top and are bent on mischief.

Left Flank: At a mid-point Battlegames Teaser #1 was being read.

Left Flank: The French have advanced as far as the woods and are going to turn right toward the bridge. This force was on a side table. See previous post for photos of the side table.

Left Flank: Meanwhile at Pegasus Bridge , our glider, err, I mean, Albanie Piquet (far side) is being counter attacked by enraged von Kleist light troops. The cart is full of explosives to blow the bridge but the Albanies dispatched a section of Prussian engineers that had been setting charges. Result? The Albanies were routed and the Prussians were able to retreat across the bridge. Where is Lovat when needed?

Center Left Side: Very late in the battle. Not much left for either force contesting the center.

Center Far Right Side: In The Defile the Prussians turned the tables on the French and beat them back.

Right Flank: Each side has now pulled back to rest. But the Prussians (upper left) would soon advance.

Far Right Flank: Atop The Protzen Heights, the French have pushed back the Black Hussars.
Closing Remarks:
  • Rich "The Main Judge" decreed the French scored a minor victory on their left flank, the center was a major win for the Prussians and the right was a draw. Thus, a Prussian win.
  • L'affair Pegasus was adapted from the British glider and commando attack on The Pegasus Bridge of 6 June, 1944 as depicted in the motion picture, The Longest Day.
  • Each game sector played at its own speed. The Pegasus Zone moved faster than players in the Center and Right. This did not matter and it helped keep everyone busy. No waiting for others to catch up.
  • When soldiers entered a different zone, they entered time and turns of the entered zone.
  • Left (Pegasus) Zone participants were Prussians Earl and Curt versus French Mike and Chuck. A big free for all with lots of maneuver and surprises. This was mostly an affair of light troops.
  • Center Zone participants were Prussians Rich, George and Derrick opposed by John the Russian and Chris the Swiss, etc. etc. A classic linear battle between two brigades per side.
  • Western Zone participants were Prussians Jim and Keith battling French Randy and Don. A combination linear and light troop battle.
  • Game Start: 11:00am.
  • Lunch: 1:00pm
  • Game Finish: 5:15pm
  • Miniatures: Almost 2,000 and we reached a conclusion.
  • Everyone brought a small beverage or snack to share. Sloppy Joe's were provided by the host.
  • This was the first and hopefully not the last time we had a portion of snacks as healthy stuff; veggies and dip brought by John. Chris brought grapes in the form of two bottles of wine. Then there were "Donna cookies" scratch made by Keith's wife. And and and....
  • Rules: {BAR} Batailles de l'Ancien Régime (1740-1763) linked in the upper left of this blog.
  • Der Alte Fritz took photos of the Western Zone on and near the Protzen Heights. May I recommend you to his blog when he hopefully posts photos and remarks there?
  • Comments welcome next. Remarks from participants welcome for a different view and?
  • --------------------\
  • Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Brittlestadt Light Troop BAR Game Preparation

    Photos are for players in the above game to help them plan and for those few other vicariously interested viewers. A number of terrain items are absent because some participants are bringing unique pieces to this game. Game participants, find your names. All these photos will be removed after 5 December. No attempt was made to make them aesthetic. These will hopefully appear later. Clicked photos will fill your screens.

    The table arrangement was an around the walls model R/R layout years ago.


    Western Zone: Beyond the parallel forested and steep hills. French (Randy/Don) on the right. Prussians (Jim/Keith) on the left. Each force will have a back table off this main table.

    Western Zone: Protzen Heights (a former model R/R scenic divider) from the French side. Ugly road will be replaced with the real deal.

    Western Zone: Still viewing from the French side. The plain below the heights. The ugly road leads to Brittlestadt; the blue card on the distant back table. Several proper buildings will be positioned there. There will be a small farm and enclosure along the road in the Prussian area.

    Western Zone: Viewed from the French left flank. Brittlestadt is on the distant Prussian back table.

    Western Zone: The Protzen from the Prussian perspective. This is the Prussian left flank.

    Western Zone: The plain below the heights from the Prussian perspective.

    Western Zone: The Prussian right flank. It is possible to pass through the defile on the right into the Central Zone and vice verse.

    Western Zone: Overall photo again.


    Central Zone: The open area beyond the ridge in the middle of the photo. Undulations on the right. Hilly on the left. The Russians (Michael and John) are posted on the right while George the Prussian is on the left. Each side has a back table not shown. Russian Mike T. off screen to the right at Thornrumple's Inn and Rich the Prussian off screen to the left at Brittlestadt. Other photos did not add much. Note the distant defile available to all forces if they desire it.


    Eastern Zone: The unfordable Brittlebach from the French side.

    Eastern Zone: Bill and Tyler will advance French forces from the foreground versus Earl's Prussians somewhere out yonder. The Brittlebach tributary is fordable.

    Eastern Zone: Side area from the French perspective. What about those woods far away?

    Eastern Zone: These woods?

    Eastern Zone: Yes. Earl has Prussians behind it and elsewhere too.

    Eastern Zone: Such as near the Brittlebach Bridge.

    Eastern Zone: Side tables from the Prussian perspective.

    Eastern Zone: Prussians will be in the foreground and the French will be in the background.
    Players! Commence your plans, if you please.