Friday, September 25, 2009

1806 Project Update

I have been on a Napoleonic roll of late, with regard to my painting production, and one thing that I have learned is that sometimes you just need to go with the flow and paint what you feel like painting. How is that for some good old country advice?

This month (September) I completed a 72-figure battalion of the original Elite Miniatures French in bicornes and they will eventually go into service as the 25e Regiment de Ligne in General Gudin's division of Davout's III Corps in 1805 to 1807. Now all I have to do is find another 60 or so more of these figures so that I can paint the second battalion of this regiment. So if anyone has some of the old Elite figures, painted or unpainted, drop old Fritz a message and he'd be happy to take them off of your hands at an outrageously high price. What a deal! Failing finding more of these figures (and I will post some pictures over the weekend), I could use the 72 figure Eureka French Revolutionary War French in bicornes as the sister battalion for the 25e de Ligne.

As of now, I have 4 battalions of French in bicorns, one battalion in the spray primer booth, and two more of the new Elite French figures in an advancing pose that need to be cleaned and primed. So I am half way home on the French infantry since Gudin had 8 battalions in his division.

After I finish some more infantry, it will be time to turn my attention to the cavalry. I currently have 40 dragoons and 40 cuirassiers completed as well as 24 chasseurs a cheval. This chasseur regiment has 20 more figures to add at some point - they are the new Elite Chasseurs. I also found 36 of the old Elite chasseurs, which are noticeably smaller in size. For some reason, I like the older figures better. So if anyone has some extra or unwanted old Elite chasseurs, you know the drill, give me a call.

I was going to post some pictures this evening, but Blogger seems to be a bit fiddly tonight and won't let me upload the pictures for some reason. Hopefully, this will sort itself out in another day.

On the reading front, I just finished James Arnold's "Crisis in the Snow" which covers Napoleon's Eylau campaign in the winter of 1806-07. This was a very enjoyable book to read as Mr. Arnold has a nice prose style of writing that keeps you interested, doesn't overwhelm you with minutia, but gives you plenty of interesting tidbits and anecdotes. For some reason, Eylau has not been covered very well by the historical writing community. James Arnold's excellent book fixes that problem. I am looking forward to his pending companion book about the Friedland campaign in 1807. I liked this book so much that I also bought his two books covering the 1809 campaign, sight unseen, from On Military Matters in New Jersey. I'm looking forward to some quality reading in the near future.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

More In The Grand Manner

A view of the French grand battery (12 guns) flanked by the Guard cavalry on the right and some Young Guard covering the left side of the picture.

Here are some more photos taken from our In The Grand Manner game on Saturday September 12, 2009 at Chez Leidy. The French had five infantry corps and the remnants of several cavalry divisions and faced two Russian, two Austrian and two British corps. As stated in yesterday's posting, this game was the start of the "second day" of battle, so both sides had the opportunity to reorganize and redeploy their armies overnight.

As Napoleon, my plan was to attack with our left wing consisting of Davout's corps (14btns), the Guard (8btns) and the Guard Cavalry plus some leftover dragoons and cuirassiers. We had a grand battery of twelve 12-pounders sited on a ridge facing the Russian army. Soult (Randy) held the French center and had two corps of infantry and division of heavy cavalry. Bernadotte (Bill) had the task of protecting the French right flank and keeping the British army from cutting off our line of communication on the back table. My story today will deal mainly with the attack of Davout and the Guard, since that is where I spent the day and I had my hands too full to follow what was going on in our center and right.

My general orders to the other players was for Soult to press the center so that the Austrians could not assist the Russians. Bernadotte was supposed to hang on for dear life and do his best to stop the British from cutting the rear road network.

The right flank of Davout's grand battery is protected by a regiment of Guard Polish Lancers and four battalions of Young Guard. The Old Guard (4btns) can be seen in the rear.

Four battalions of the Old Guard back up four battalions of the Young Guard to shore up the right flank of the French grand battery.

The French grand battery left flank was anchored by the river shown above. Davout placed a division on the opposite side of the river to threaten the Russian lines of communication and draw off some of their forces from the main French attack.

The attack begins with light cavalry and horse artillery (already across the table gap and onto the Russian table) and two squadrons of dragoons screening the hammer blow that will be delivered by the Guard Chasseurs a Cheval (5 sqds) and the 1er Cuirassiers (4 sqds). The Guard Horse Grenadiers are deployed behind the initial cavalry screen to take out any Russian cavalry that might counterattack.

Russian 6-pdr horse battery guards their right flank. Unfordable river to their right. This would be the objective of the French 1er Cuirassiers. Once the guns were taken out, the supporting French infantry would advance and occuppy this position and pry out the Russians away from the river protection.

To the right of the Russian horse battery (from the French point of view) sits a large 6-pdr Russian battery, supported by Russian cuirassiers on each side. This would be the objective of the French Guard Chasseurs. With these two batteries taken out of action, the way would be clear for Davout to advance his infantry corps and attack the Russian infantry.

Further to the right of the Russian line, stood the Austrian grand battery and lots of guys in white coats. Napoleon ordered Soult to press the Austrian center so that this lot wouldn't swing down onto the flank of Davout's attack.

While Murat is leading the French cavalry attack into the teeth of the Russian batteries, the French deploy their Guard Lancers on their right to protect the flank of the grand battery from a Russian or Austrian cavalry attack. The sight of these deadly lancers caused all of the Austrian infantry to go into square for several turns. This served Napoleon's purposes very well.

The Polish Lancers got whittled down by artillery fire and all that remained was a squadron and a half, but miraculously, the Lancers repelled the Austrian cuirassiers with some good die rolling. Napoleon was pleased as he thought that the Lancers would be defeated.

The 1er Cuirassiers position themselves to launch the final charge into the Russian horse battery. Two squadrons had to peel off to fight the Russian cavalry counter-attack, seen to their right. The Guard Horse Grenadiers were doing their job of absorbing the Russian cavalry so that the cuirassiers and chasseurs could get into the guns.

And now the Guard Chasseurs (2 sqds) prepare to charge into the guns. Their right is protected by a squadron of Guard Horse Grenadiers while their left is protected by a third squadron of Chasseurs that have peeled off to stop the Russian cuirassiers.

The Chasseurs have ridden down the Russian guns and are returning to their own lines, having missed a 'rally on the spot' by one pip of the dice. The third squadron of Chasseurs defeated the Russian cuirassiers and did Rally on the Spot and turn their facing to charge into the flank of the Russian horse battery on the hill. This battery was charged from the front by the French cuirassiers and from the flank by the French Chasseurs of the Guard. Simply beautiful!

So by the end of the day, the Russians had lost three artillery batteries, while both sides had neutralized the other's cavalry to some extent. The French were now getting ready to hurl all of Davout's infantry and 8 battalions of Guard infantry into the Russians, who would only have one 12 pound battery to face off against three French 12 pound batteries. We had to adjourn for the day at this point, with the game to be continued in two weeks.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Murat Attacks the Russians

Marshal Murate (right) leads the flower of the French Guard cavalry against the Russians today. (click picture to enlarge the view)

I thought that I would post a teaser of some of the photos that I took at the massive In The Grand Manner Napoleonic game that we played today at Chez Leidy. This is a continuation of the game that we started back in May and continued into July and August. This was our fourth full day of wargaming this scenario.

We played 24 turns over the previous three game sessions, which meant that night had fallen and everyone had to fall back to their lines in order to refit and get ready to resume the battle in the morning. Both sides were allowed to reposition and redeploy troops within 36" of their final position, the day before. Artillery was resupplied , as were all muskets.

I will post many more pictures on Sunday afternoon and give an account of Marshal Murat's great cavalry charge into the teeth of the Russian batteries. It was somewhat reminiscent of the great charge at Eylau, but today the French cavalry wiped out two Russian batteries, while a third horse battery was decrewed with counter-battery fire.

More tomorrow, I'm off to bed right now.