Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Donald Featherstone Memorial Game 2013 .

I was tidying up some files on my computer and I came across the following battle that I copied from my now defunct blog (thanks Blogger !) . It was fought between myself and 'S' around Christmas four years ago - so I thought I would publish it here again to save it from extinction .

It was decided about a month ago to do a memorial game in the style of and to commemorate Donald Featherstone and his rules. 'S' set me a challenge to get my Franco Prussian War figures all painted ready for the game - which I manage to do - just !. We decided to dress formally as people in Don's early photos appear - 'S' sporting his fathers cravat and smoking jacket and myself a collar and tie . Here we are toasting Don's memory . I said to my wife "I don't like this photo it makes me look fat !"- she replied "but you are !, Hmm ! 'Et to Bruti' !
'S' steps back into 1960's mode . I've tried several different types of 'messing about' with photos techniques in this report to try and capture the period - some work better than others.
We played the scenario from Don's first book but with Franco Prussian figures instead of ACW  ones. The Terrain was set up as close as I could manage to the Platteville Valley . I took the Prussians and 'S' the French (he's a bit of a Francophile). Here is the situation at the end of the second move , my Bavarians and Wurttembergers  move towards the river as 'S's troops move down the road towards the bridge.
On move Three the rest of the units came onto their respective board edges, my Hussars came onto the table near the bridge and dashed across it much to 'S's consternation ! - my 'Coup D' Elite' !
On the other flank the main force of my infantry marched on .
The situation at the end of the Third move .
'S's troops way is blocked by the miniature bottle of Port.
'S's left flank with the French Lancers in reserve.
My Hussars cross the bridge and deploy and in the centre my infantry move over the river .
My Hussars charge the French line and block the line of sight of my deployed Artillery ! Rats!.
They take casualties but in a close fought melee they hold the French advance up !.
The French Mitrailleuse is knocked out by the Prussian gun .
The much depleated Hussars retire their mission completed - but at a cost !. So far Don's rules had stood the test of time ! .

On my right flank the infantry advances onto the table
And comes under accurate Artillery fire !
'S' counters it by sending his Chasseur's through the woods.
In the centre my columns cross the river to find their way blocked by 'S's Turco's.
The forces clash on the hill top and I start to get the upper hand !
'S' rushes reinforcements to hold up my attack ! - at this point the battle was defiantly going my way !. BUT I then did a series of things that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory !.
I ignored his lancers and moved my infantry up in column to cut his centre - they charged and my Jaegers and Artillery failed to stop them with supporting fire !.
Under Don's rules getting charged in the flank is NOT a good thing - they broke and were cut down by the Lancers - Oh dear !
In the centre my Bavarians lost their last officer, failed a moral test and fled back across the river , the Wurttemberg infantry on their flank then failed their moral test for a flank unit fleeing and broke as well - Oh dear !.
'S's view of the table - he had started pulling his units back just prior to my debacle now with a grin on his face he countermanded this and followed up my fleeing forces !. 
The situation on the last move , the Bavarians continue to flee but the Wurttemberg unit is rallied by the Prussian High Command .
The French Zouaves move forward to control the ridge , urged on by their Cantiniere !
One of the only rule changes we made was to allow one French casualty to re roll a failed saving throw if a Cantiniere was present - if he was successful she had revived him with her brandy !.
To add insult to injury 'S' managed to cause casualties on my gun preventing it from firing . It was French victory - due to my mistakes and a touch of bad luck . We both agreed it had been a good and tense game , the rules worked well after 50 odd years and took only 2 hours to play . We hope it was a fitting memorial to a great wargamer . Who knows it may become a seasonal tradition !.
P.S. on seeing the photo of us in the first instalment, 'S' said that it did not make me look fat - only 'portly' - Not sure if he is trying to be kind or it's a pun !?

Monday, 13 February 2017

Finally Getting Things Done .

This Whippet tank has been sat undercoated waiting to be painted for about two years I think , so guilt finally overtook me and I have got it done ! . Here we see the Chinese Warlord Feng Shui inspecting his new acquisition with his two senior officers as the driver has his lunch . Can't for the life in me remember were I got it or who made it , it's a three piece resin kit , the machine guns long since lost and replaced  with brass rod .

A shot of the tank in action from a recent game , note the position of 'The Glorious Warlord Feng Shui'  - he refers to it as 'overseeing the action'

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Bataille Du Village De La Scierie * (Part 2)

The French main force try and deploy but come under Prussian artillery fire .

The Prussian gun hidden behind the wall opens fire with deadly accuracy .

The flanking force of Jaegers move out of the woods .

On the other flank the Prussian Infantry moves into Sawmill Village .

The Chasseurs De Pied deploy into skirmish order and attack the village .

The French artillery open fire on the village (the pile of pennies represent the amount of ammo the gun has).

The combined fire of the Chasseurs De Pied and the artillery drive the Prussians back and halt their advance .

The Chasseurs storm the village capturing it for the French ! Huzza !

However on the other flank the Zouaves suffer heavy casualties from the Jaegers and artillery .

They fail their moral test and flee back towards the ridge .

Even entreatments from the French General and Staff fail to halt them - disgraceful behaviour ! .

The French artillery try to halt the Prussian advance - but to no avail ! ( French gunnery was total rubbish - Napoleon must have been turning in his grave !)  

The French misery is prolonged by the Chasseurs De Pied being driven out of the village by the fire of the Jaegers and line infantry , this means their flanking unit had to test morale - and failed ! and are seen fleeing in the bottom right of this photo .

The Prussians retake the village ! .

The battle was to last eight moves and all of the French Infantry failed to rally so victory went to the Prussians . A very poor showing by the French indeed . In fact some authorities think it was the inspiration of Emile Zola's novel 'Le Debacle' . An excellent game using some of my favourite figures and a set of rule I think very highly of .
P.S The Battle of Sawmill Village

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Bataille Du Village De La Scierie * (Part 1)

One of my favourite classic wargaming battles must be 'The Battle of Sawmill Village' made famous by Charles Grant in his book 'The Wargame' and I  have re-fought it many times using different armies and periods . So today when I was at a bit of a lose on what to game I thought I would set it up and use my O.S. Franco- Prussian War figures to fight it . The French force is coming onto the table in the bottom right hand corner and the Prussians in the top left . Guess who has been busy with Google Translate !.

The French force comprises of  Chasseurs De Pied  ,  Zouaves  a unit of Line and a gun and crew .

The Prussians have two units of Line , Jaegers and a gun and crew .

The object of the battle is to capture Sawmill Village (Scierie Village) , here we see the Jaegers being sent on a flanking manoeuvre over Sandy Hill (Colline Sablonneuse).

The rest of the Prussian force heads directly for the village .

The French force also divides with the Line battalion being sent down the flank under cover of the ridge , the gun and crew move to the high ground and the rest of the force moves towards the Old Dover Road  (Vieux Dover Route)  . That is the end of the first move , the battle will be continued in part two which will follow shortly ..........
P.S. The Battle of Sawmill Village - it's a pet peeve of mine which annoys me greatly when people use French words and sentences without a translation - my French being of the level that if I stare at a French menu long enough I can sort of work out the food on offer.