Showing posts with label blucher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blucher. Show all posts

Monday, 19 June 2017

Blucher At Waterloo - Again

Last year we did a big all-day refight of Waterloo using Blucher. This year we did it again. We had our usual room at the University as well, so got the plus of familiar surroundings, whilst losing the sea-view.

After the game last year there was a lot of discussion about how it could be improved, and these changes were applied to the game we played. Firstly we made the table narrower so troops got into action more quickly and so that the Allied strongpoints weren't so far from their main line that their defence was futile. Secondly we removed the separate Plancenoit table we'd used last year. To adjust for this we also ditched one French and one Prussian corps, and had their activities off-table and outside the scope of the game.

Here's the table set up ready for the battle. In the foreground is Hougoumont, beyond it La Haye Sainte and in the far distance the settlements of Papalotte and Frischermont. All of these were held by the Allies, but worth victory points to the French; 2VP each for the first two and 1VP each for the latter two. There were also 2VP up for grabs for hlding the crossroads on the Allied ridge. As you can see, there were 8VP on the table, and the Allies held them all at the start. Victory would go to the side that held a majority at nightfall. An army could also win by breaking the enemy army.


The French.


The Allies.


The Prussians.


The players. We all seemed to have decided that blue was the colour of the day.


Take a moment to marvel at Caesar's Blucher movement measuring device, converted from some scrap sprue. I won't give the training course that we had.


Here's the initial setup around Hougoumont, before the units were revealed. At this stage the game looks like the opening credits of Dad's Army.


A view along the ridge. Daniel was commanding Rielle's troops, tasked with taking Hougoumont.


D'Erlon's Corps advanced to take Papelotte and Frichermont.


The advance on Hougoumont.


The Allies revealed.


Caesar alternated between commanding D'Erlon's Corp, and keeping us on the straight and narrow with his knowledge of the rules.


An early combat - Allied light cavalry attacked some advancing French infantry.


Another view along the ridge, with more figures on the table.


The attack against Papelotte and Frichermont developed slowly. Time was of the essence, though, because the Prussians would be turning up soon.


On the other flank Rielle was engaging the Allies along the line, whilst trying to take Hougoumont.


To the right of them, the Guard were advancing on La Haye Sainte. We reasoned we could secure a win by taking and holding all of the objectives in front of the ridge, leaving the Allies with the crossroads.


The fighting intensified around Papelotte. The cards on the table are the French cavalry, which had been assigned from the reserve to this flank in order to counter any sneaky Prussian moves.


Meanwhile, in the centre, the Guard advanced on La Haye Sainte.


The Prussians arrived!


They were quickly revealed. The French cavalry charged in, to stop them attacking the two settlements, one of which was now in French hands.



On the other flank the French were taking heavy casualties, but managed to take Hougoumont. All they now had to do was hold it until nightfall. Despite massive casualties, they did so.


The latter part of the battle, with all of the figures on the table, and fierce fighting around all of the key objectives. By this stage the French controlled everything but the crossroads, but were going to have to fight to hold their win.


The Allied cavalry appeared to try and win the day for Wellington in the centre.


With only a couple of turns left, the Prussians took Papelotte.


The Prussians were putting D'Erlon's troops under a great deal of pressure, whilst the French cavalry did what it could to help. Which wasn't much. Incidentally, I was running the French cavalry.


Fighting was fierce around La Haye Sainte, but the French held the objective.


The Prussians captured Frichermont as well. The game was now tied. Caesar tried to retake Papelotte, but failed. There was one French turn left.


Enter Napoleon ...


Napoleon is fairly inactive in this scenario, and could only use his leadership ability every three turns. But we'd saved him up, and used him at the end to order a series of attacks on the two Prussian-held objectives. Any attack ordered by Napoleon in this way gets a bonus, and it was used to great effect. The Prussians were thrown out of both objectives by the French, giving us a 6-2 victory as night fell.


Vive L'Empereur!


The scenario worked really well, and we played it to a conclusion well within the day at a fairly relaxed pace, which just goes to show the strength of Blucher for gaming battles of this size. We tried a method of speeding up the allocation of MO, where each side only got a single D6 worth of points (rolled secretly by the other side), but with each command (player) being able to make their moves using the whole score. It seemed like we wouldn't have enough to do anything, but in fact with careful planning of moves all players generally got to do a decent move each turn, and keep the battle moving.

Thanks to Ralph for organising the scenario, and various others - Gary, Ralph and Caesar - for providing figures and terrain.

Update: Ralph's report includes more photos, more information on what was happening in the centre and around Hougoumont, and information on the actual setup of the game and the commands.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Blucher 1814

We played Blucher for the first time in ages on Thursday. Unfortunately, a storm a few days before took out out internet access, and it's taken a few days to get reconnected, so you've had to wait for this report. In fact Ralph beat me to it, with a lovely write-up for his blog HERE, which not only features better pictures of the game than I managed to achieve, but also shows you a rare glimpse of me playing (something you rarely see here for obvious reasons). I suggest you look through Ralph's report, which is mostly correct, then come back here for what is really a supplement.

Off you go!

...

Back? Great.

So you understand the position now; our Russians were attacking the French, who seemed to be made up of enthusiastic, but brittle, conscripts.

Here's the Russians, ready to be deployed.


As the other report stated, we opted for a holding action, since the positioning of the objectives, and the fact that the French left one of the ones in their zone undefended allowing us to grab it with cavalry, shifted the onus of attacker from us to them. This was our position in the centre, with some reliable infantry (good in defence) backed up with a bit of artillery and cavalry.


Our cavalry holding one of the French objectives. Having taken it, we left a couple of brigades to hold it, just in case the French tried something sneaky with their cavalry, and then the rest moved to cross the stream and compromise the French rear.


Ralph pointed to some hidden units. In the foreground, both Russian and French units remained unengaged and unobserved. On the hill in the corner can be seen the objective marker the Russians were defending.


With both sides revealed in the centre the battle began in earnest. The French attacked, and had some initial success, but their infantry, whilst numerous, lacked staying power, and the Russians steadily absorbed their attacks.


The French advanced on their left, hoping to rush the Russian objective.


The Russians swung into action, and deployed to meet the threat with elite infantry.


The action in the centre was fast and furious now, and a bit of a mess, to be honest. But despite their numbers, the French were coming off worse, with casualties steadily pushing their army to breaking point.


One Russian unit discovered that the bullet was as wise as the bayonet with shooting like this. A single turn of firing devastated a fresh French brigade.


On the Russian right some of their infantry held off an attack by two French cavalry brigades. As the cavalry fell back they were subjected to musketry and artillery fire from other Russian units, and shattered.


Russian cavalry charged the French in a flank attack that proved less decisive than we'd hoped.


In the centre our one unit of militia charged the French grand battery, who were so surprised that they fired high, caused virtually no casualties at all and then bolted, abandoning their guns to the attackers.


By this stage the evening was drawing to a close, Ralph was commencing his weekly transformation into a pumpkin, and it was obvious that the day was lost for the French; a number of their units were close to breaking, and the Russians were still full of beans, borscht and blinis. Ralph and Dave conceded.


Given how rusty we were with the rules, we got through it pretty rapidly - I think we were playing 200pts a side, which gives a pretty decent-looking game, and certainly playable within a relaxed evening. As the Russians we were fairly lucky, getting some good shooting and, as far as I can recall, never having a turn where we ran out of initiative points before we'd done everything we wanted to do for the turn.

And don't those massed 15mm figures look lovely?

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Blucher At Waterloo

Is there a better way to spend a wet and windy Sunday than refighting the Battle of Waterloo? Opinions on that might differ, but it's certainly worth trying. So that's what we did today.

The aim was to refight the whole battle using Blucher - I think we've done a portion of it before, but this was the megalomaniac's version.

The availability of our usual venue at the University was in doubt, owing to rooms being randomly locked during exam season even if previously booked, but fortunately Peter was able to arrange for us to use the function room at a local surf lifesaving club.


So it was that we gamed with this as the view from the window.



Waterloo obviously needs a decent-sized table. We played with one long table covering the ridge on which the Allied army was deployed, plus a separate smaller table for the area around Plancenoit. It was assumed that units wouldn't move between tables. The space between them represented the French rear area, and a lot of their Corps started here, moving onto the appropriate table as they were activated.

Here's a view of the tables from the west, with Hougoumont in the foreground.


The Allied commanders confer. Victory was about securing a number of objectives - Hougoumont, La Haye Sainte, Plancenoit and the two hamlets of Papelotte and La Haie to the east. Destroyed units would act as a tie-break. The Allies held all of the objectives at the start of the game, bar Plancenoit.


My command; Reille's Corps, with Hougoumont as its target. My orders were to seize the chateau with a bold, direct attack, then form up beyond it and pin the Allied in in that sector, whilst Kellerman's cavalry came up to turn the Allied right.


Caesar took D'Erlons Corps, with orders to capture Papelotte and La Haie.


The attack on Hougoumont. Gary was commanding the Allies in that sector, and decided that the position was untenable after the first attack went in. Rather than reinforce he chose to concede the objective to the French, and withdrew the defenders.


In the centre the Guard were deployed to assault La Haye Sainte


The British cavalry came off the ridge and threatened the flank of D'Erlon's Corps. The French reserve cavalry moved to counter it.


Caesar launched a brisk assault on the hamlets, and took them.


Allied light cavalry had come down off the ridge between La Haye Sainte and Hougoumont. The remaining French Reserve cavalry was deployed to that area in order to drive them off and then cover the flanks of both the Guard and Reille's Corps. Observant readers will see that this was a change from the original flank-move plan, brought about mostly because Reille  was suffering from inertia and wasn't moving from his position around Hougoumont.

In the centre the Guard took La Haye Sainte. All objectives were in the hands of the French now.


A view along the battlefield from the west.


Caesar's attack on Papelotte.


Meanwhile Lobau had been assigned the defence of Plancenoit.


And now things got exciting! It turned out that that cloud of dust to the east wasn't Grouchy's troops arriving to assist the French but was, in fact, a ton of Prussians under the very man after whom the rules were named. Much to Caesar's consternation it turned out that the Prussians weren't in fact allies of the French, and that we couldn't (as on of his pre-battle plans had required) use them to garrison Plancenoit.

Anyway, lots of Prussians appeared.



Lots.


Caesar formed a thin blue line in order to resist them


The British cavalry formed up behind the French line, ready to make a tasty D'Erlon sandwich.


The French cavalry under Kellerman formed up closer to La Haye Sainte in order to cover against an Allied recapture. With all objectives under French control, all we had to do was hold them until nightfall.


More Prussians! These attacked Plancenoit, but Lobau held them off for the whole of the rest of the game.


The focus of interest was this one small corner of the filed, as the Prussians moved towards La Haie.


But the view out of the window is worth seeing too.


John gives his Prussians a Hard Stare.


Napoleon himself steps in to organise the French right and prevent the recapture of the hamlets.


Another overview of the battlefield, showing Reille's troops still milling around Hougoumont.


In the centre the Allies had come off the ridge and were advancing towards the Guard around La Haye Sainte. Kellerman's cavalry was ordered to support the Guard by threatening the advancing infantry.


The British cavalry charged Caesar's cavalry.


A spectacular cavalry melee ensued ...


... in which the French came off worse.


Plancenoit. Still in French hands.


Kellerman's cavalry forced the advancing Allied infantry in the centre into square.


 Formation commanding from Wellington and his aides.


Reille. His progress past Hougoumont was glacial.


The end of the Allied line in the centre was made up of conscript troops, Even in square they were vulnerable, so The Guard cavalry was ordered to charge. The fight was inconclusive.


The French right was now a mess, with dispersed units battling Prussians on one side and British cavalry on the other.


La Haie fell to the Prussians.


However in the centre a stalemate saw La Haye Sainte still in French hands.


And at that point night fell. Most of the objectives were in French hands still, and whilst the Allies and Prussians now had the upper hand in the battle, current casualties were about even. The French had won a victory, although how long their hold on their gains would remain was a matter of some discussion.

This is a scenario we need to try again, as it was felt that there were a few flaws with how victory points were gained, and with the deployments. A slight change to the way initiative was rolled was deemed a success, however, giving each Corps a single dice which could be merged for multiple formations under one player. This sped up play greatly, as there was not MO allocation by committee to deal with.

Thanks to Ralph for organising the scenario and Peter for organising the venue. Many people provided figures. I just turned up and played.

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