Revolting Peasants 1

Here we have a  mob of Wargamers converging on the home of Ridley Scott, having just watched “Napoleon”.  🙂

They are armed with a variety of pitchforks, scythes, axes and the like.

They are suitable for a wide time span, probably through about 1700. 

I gave mine a few WotR command figures and some spare WotR banners from Pete’s flags. 

I have in mind to use them as “Very Inferior Array” for some games with Test of Resolve – Wars of the Roses.

Blunders On The Danube

Events Past and Present


Yes, I saw the Napoleon movie last weekend. We’ll come back to that in a bit…

We lost ouir Zoe fairly suddenly earlier this year, a victim of the Hemangiosarcoma that is the plague of Golden Retrievers.  Zoe was the last of many Golden Retrievers from our long time breeder and freind, Bob. The Empress has puppy tested Bob’s litters for decades, and in September, after testing a litter, she came back saying how wonderful this one particular boy was. “But he’s spoken for, so it doesn’t matter.” A few days later, Bob called us to say that the prospective  owner had backed out, so if we wanted the boy, we could have him. We all went to check him out a few days later. I knew that once we went, we would be getting him. My younger daughter lost her beloved Golden, Rory, a few years back, and has wanted another boy for a while. In fact, we got Rory in much the same way – an unplanned puppy. 

So, no surprise, a week later, the new boy, whom my daughter named “Rowan”, came home with us. The big girls weren’t quite sure what to make of him at first, hence “making friends with treats”!

Well. it wasn’t long before Rowan “Conquered everything”. he is seen here seated upon this throne, LOL!

Everybody love Rowan!

“I am master of all I survey!”
    Back to the Napoleon Movie; I saw it with my wife and our two close, history buff friends (neither of whom is really very familiar with Napoleon and his times). The theater was actually full, which surprised me somewhat. As history, well, not too great. The movie is more told through the lens of  Napoleon’s relationship with Josephine, which isn’t unreasonable for the general public. The earlier part of the movie concerning the siege of Toulon, the “whiff of grapeshot”, Napoleon’s encountering Josephine, some brief cameos in Egypt and then the Coup d’ Etat of Brumaire, the consulate and coronation was reasonably well done; I’d be really interested in what is in the 4+ hour director’s cut. The battle scenes are impressive but pretty grossly fantasy. Overall, I enjoyed it for what it was. The subject of Napoleon, his life and his times is so complex that it would really take a muti-part series to cover it in any depth at all.  I think the director would have been far better off with at least 2 or 3 movies; the first woukld cover his early life, and end with his successful 1st Italian campaign. The second might have covered Egypt through Austerlitz or Tilsit, and the last from there until his death. Certainly more development of the many other characters surrounding him, demonstration of his charisma and incredible work ethic, and some coverage of  the Concordat and the Code Napoleon would have given a more nuanced and engaging portrait of the man.  Today is the 119th anniversary of Napoleon’s coronation as Emperor of the French, and the 118th anniversary of Austerlitz.  Vive l’Empereur!

Finally, this week saw the death of Dr. Henry Kissinger at age 100. His legacy is complex, but he was certainly a major force, for both good and bad, in the evolution of the world order in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and beyond. . He retired to Kent, CT, one town Northeast of where I have practiced for almost 40 years. Soon after we moved to the area, my wife and I were out to dinner. She whispered to me “Peter, someone is doing a really BAD impression of Henry Kissinger!”. I glanced over, and, knowing that he lived in the area, replied “Oh no, that IS Henry Kissinger!”  For the most part celebrities bore me to tears, but I must confess that speaking with Kissinger would have been another matter altogether. We of course ignored he and his party the rest of the evening. 

Blunders On The Danube

Battle for St Armand, June 16, 1815, with TtS – Napoleon!

    Today Thomas and Kevin came over and we played a first game of “To the Strongest! – Napoleon“. These rules are unofficial variant of To the Strongest! and For King and Parliament both by Simon Miller. As regular readers will know, I am a big fan of both rules sets, which use a gridded table and cards for activations and combat. Robert Tison is the author, and it is still a work in progress. The original is in French, but Robert recently produced a pretty reasonable translation into English. We used his scenario for St Armand 1815, part of the battle of Ligny. All of the files for this game are available from the TTSN facebook group

In set up the table, troops, etc. the day before. The Ligny stream meanders throughout the battlefield. In this sector, there three important villages with stoutly build houses. From the right, these are St Armand, St Armand La Haye, and Wagnelee. 

View from the Prussian side; one raw of boxes on the French side and 2 rows on the Prussian side are not used; the trees simply mark the edge of the table on that side. 

Another view. I used 25/28 mm troops and 8″/200mm square boxes. 

A final view of the battlefield before the troops are set up. 

French forces under General Vandamme  from left to right: 3rd cavalry Division Domon, the 2 brigades of Division Berthezene (the leftmost one has an attached artillery support), the Corps Reserve Heavy Artillery Division is behind them, and then the 2 brigades of Division Lefol; the rightmost has an artillery support. For the infantry and Cavalry, I used the number of stands to indicate the number of VP’s (hits) the formation could take. Separate Artillery Divisions have 3 VP, while attaches support artillery lends no VP’s.  The French have some reinforcements coming; Girad’s 4 VP Infantry Brigade will enter the table opposite the gap between Wagnelee and St Arman La Haye on turn 6, and  Guye’s 4 VP Young Guard Division enters opposite the right half of St Armand on Turn  8. 

The Prussians start with all of their troops on the table and can expect no reinforcements. Opposite St Armand (actually, they should have been *in* St. Armand at the start – my error!) are the two brigades of von Jagow’s 3rd Brigade, one of 6 VP regulars, and one of 4 VP Landwehr with an attached support battery. On the hills are 2 Medium Artillery Divisions with the Corps commander, von Ziethen. In front of them is the weak 2 VP 4th Hussars, and the two units of  von Steimetz’s 1st Brigade share a box opposite St. Armand La Haye; both are 6 VOP with attached support Artillery, but one is composed of Regulars and the other of Landwehr. Finally, off to the right are the 2 units of von Doennersmark’s 4th brigade, a 6 VP regular unit with attached artillery support, and a 4 VP Landwehr unit. Finally on the far right there is a weak 2 VV Landwehr cavalry unit. 

French gov first and mange to seize control of St Armand (again, the Prussians should have begun garrisoning it, my error). 

Both sides exchange fire to limited effect on the Prussian phase of Turn 1. 

Combat at St. Armand (each rock marker is a VP loss). We promptly had a number of unanswered questions about the use of “Skirmisher swarms” and thus wound up conveniently ignoring them (and national differences, etc.), for the rest of the game. Not unreasonable for the first time out!

The French Heavy Artillery Division has moved to the Front of the box so that it can commence firing. 

Firing results in slow attrition… until the French Heavy  Artillery Division gets lucky and manages to inflict 2 VP losses on the opposing Prussian Artillery Division. In this scenario, any unit dropping to 1 VP is removed. 
The resultant morale (“Cohesion”) tests for units in the same and orthogonal boxes resulted in all the failing and taking a VP loss; this dropped the Hussars to 1 VP and they ignominiously retired from the filed, triggering 2 MORE Cohesion tests; this time, Prussian resolve was much better and they were unmoved by the departure of the Prussian cavalrymen. Thereafter, the  Prussian Landwehr unit opposite St. Armand was charged and brought to 1 VP remaining and thus removed, whilst the Regular unit opposite St Armand was brought suffered 4 VP losses total after several attempts to assaults’ St Armand failed; they wisely withdrew to Rally (and avoid being eliminated). By now, Girard’s small 4 VP brigade had arrived near Wagnelee, while the Prussian Regular unit occupying it had moved out to take advantage of their attached Artillery support (fires 2 boxes straight ahead where formed infantry fires 1 box straight ahead). 

The Prussian Artillery Division turns to the left to enable flank shooting at the victorious French of Lefol’s Division. However, this exposes their flank in turn to fire form the French Heavy Artillery Division! 

Vandamme (Kevin) surveys the battlefield; 3 Prussian units eliminated to no French – la vie est belle!

Von Ziethen (Thomas) orders one of  Steinmetz’s units to move to the left to support his weak flank.  

The Prussian Artillery Division, over the course of time shrugs off not one but TWO flank assaults by Lefols’s infantry, and many flank shots by the French Artillery, earning them the nickname of “Die Unsterblichen” (The Immortals)! Meanwhile, Lefol’s other brigade has moved past the flank of some Prussian regulars. This can be a crapshoot in TTS! style games, because it all who depends who can turn to the flank and when!

\The Prussian regulars turn to their flank first! They are battered, but managed to rally off as many VP loses (hits) as allowed; A 6 VP base unit can’t regain losses to a strength over 4 VP, , 3 VP for a 4 VP unit and 2 VP for 3 VP unit. 

Lefol’s infantry Brigade also faces to flank. I gave flank fire a bonus card but I didn’t see it in the rules afterwards; seems likely an oversight?   meanwhile, the Young Guard have arrived (far right). 

The Prussian Artillery Division pulls forward in order to be able to avoid fire from the French Heavy Artillery, but is now subject to flank fire (and charges) by the infantry instead. The “Immortals” just continue to shrug it all off!

The fighting continues at St Armand La Haye. 

The area around Wagnelee has been relatively quite… so far! 

The combined efforts of the battered Prussian Regulars and the Prussian Artillery Division were finally too much for the men of Lefol’s brigade, and they are eliminated; Lefol himself suffers a light wound in the process and rejoins the remaining brigade of his Division. 

That brigade, with both Lefol and Vabndamme himself encouraging them, charges in to the flank of the Prussian Artillery!

4 cards played, and NO HITS!  Mon Dieu! 

The French Heavy Artillery Division with its supporting infantry Brigade moves up to again place Die Unsterblichen in its field of fire once again. 
The Prussian Artillery and infantry face towards the Ligny Stream once again.

Off on the Prussian right, the French Chasseur Division moved forwards and charged the Prussian infantry in the flank, but to little effect. I believe the infantry should have mad e a cohesion test to form square here, but I forgot that. I also presumed that units charged in the flank don’t get to play a hit card even if they survive the attack, same as in TTS/FK&P, but couldn’t find that stated anywhere. The light cavalry played one of their 2 Elan markers for an extra hit card, for all the good it did them! 

The Young Guard (top right) have passed through St Armand and are facing a battered unit of Prusian Regulars. 

On the far Prussian right, the Landwher cavalry have moved up, with the French Chassuers turning to avoid being taken in flank themselves. So much for their moment of glory! 

“The Immortals” have finally succumbed to the repeated fire by the French Artillery and Lefol’s infantry. “En avant, mon enfants!” Vandamme himself leads the Young Guard in its charge upon the battered Prussian regulars. 

The Prussians took a hit from the charge which they failed to save; that brought their losses to 5 VP, and they were removed from play. The Prussian Victory Medal count dropped to zero, and von Ziethen’s men must quit the field! Perhaps the Emperor will yet bestow a baton on the skilled but famously disagreeable General Vandamme?!

I had also set up the terrain for the Quatre Bras scenario; as an “encounter battle, almost no troops start the battle on the table. 

Jared was unable to make it at the last moment, so that scenario went unplayed; I might just play it out myself solo in the next month or so. 
LOTS of difficult terrain for this one! Units that are all comprised of Light Infantry ignore the terrain penalties for Activations (only). 
Once again the River and the Woods are merely used to establish the table boundaries. 

Blunders On The Danube

Scratch built Russian Buildings


For our Sappy Nappy multiple table games and the Russia 1812 events in particular, I needed some more lightweight, sturdy, and inexpensive buildings. Thus, I scratch built a set of 10 structures.

The basic construction is foam board (not insulation board). It’s actually quite difficult to cut that stuff smoothly! 

I did straight and gabled (ie, the ends as above) segments in 2.5″ and 3.5″, and from those 4 basic parts assembled 4 different sizes of buildings. 

These are the smallest, 2.5″ square. 

These next two are 3.5″ on the gabled side, and 2.5″ on the straight side. 

The walls were put together with white (PVA) glue an straight pins.

The wood is cut and glued on craft sticks, etc. 

The doors and shutters are made from the same materials. 

This next set of three is the opposite, 2.5″ gabled sides, and 3.5″ straight sides. 

They are meant to represent pretty basic. no frills rough wooden peasant house type structures.

Thus any decorative paint is reserved for the shutters and doors. 

The roofing is made from thin sheets of balsa, again affixed with white glue and straight pins. 

The final 2 buildings, and the largest of the set, are 3.5″ on all four sides. 

I am still debating whether to add chimneys to them. 

It would improve the look, but cutting the square wooden dowels on the proper angle, and attaching them may prove more fussy than I want to deal with. 

We’ll see; maybe at some point I will add them! 

Blunders On The Danube