WELCOME TO THE WARGAMORIUM BLOG

1787-russian-grenadiers2.jpg

Welcome to the Wargamorium Blog.

The Wargamorium is situated in a sub-terrainean location north of the Waterloo battlefield.  The table is 16 foot by 6 foot making it suitable only for historical games (i.e. no gollywobblers!).

The Poteshnyi in the tag line above is a reference to a group assembled by the young Tsar Peter the Great to play out wargames so that he could study the art of war and fortifications. See post below.

At the moment I have armies for

Franco Spanish War 1635 to 1659 (French and Spanish),
War of the Spanish Succession (French and Allied),
Seven Years War (French and Allied),
Russo Turkish War 1787 – 1792 (Russians only so far),
French Revolution (French, Austrians, Russians),
Napoleonics (French, French Allies, 1805 Russians, 1805/09 Austrians and both 1806 and 1815 Prussians),
Crimean War 1854-56 (French, British and Russians),
Franco Austrian War 1859 (French and Austrians),
Franco Prussian War 1870 (French and German States),
World War One 1914 (French, BEF, Belgians and Germans) and
World War Two 1940 (Germans).

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FRANCO SPANISH WAR 1635 to 1659.

 

1643 Mounted arquebusier

Mounted Arquebusier 1643

 

Last night we decided to take a break from Napoleonics and to have another game set in the Franco Spanish War of 1635 to 1659 using the brilliant Tercio rules from Liber Militum.  I have posted links to these already.

Once again we were really impressed by these although we have confined ourselves to the basic rules and have left out the Commanders’ characteristics. All the figures are from Totentanz Miniaturas and they are truly splendid.  The photographs definitely do not do them justice as I am  rubbish photographer and the lighting is overhead fluorescent strips.

We did not create a scenario as such so it could be called an encounter battle.  The Spanish have 6 Tercios and are facing 9 French ‘Reformed Battalions’ which are smaller  but more numerous.  The amount of cavalry and artillery on both sides is equal.

The rules mechanisms are simple and yet subtle and with careful study provide a great game.  The main emphases however are on the initiative and above all the order system.  This consists of order cards which have to be allocated to each unit at the beginning of every move and this not only commits that unit to a specific action but also lists their possible reactions to any enemy movement. It is a well thought out system and we have not felt the need to make one single amendment or house rule of our own. The only addition we made was to create a better playsheet than the one provided which we felt was essential.  The rules are so simple that we use only the playsheet for most of the time.

Although by the time of the Franco Spanish War the Tercios were losing their dominance of the battlefield they were still very formidable formations both in offence and defence and could see off both enemy infantry and cavalry with ease. They are of course slightly less manoeuvrable and more vulnerable to fire which is the only real way to defeat them so the French player will have his work cut out for him. All of these elements are well reflected in the rules.

The game is confined to a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 8 moves so decisions have to be made quickly unless the player wants to lose by default.  This stops games from dragging on to the last man and we thought it is a good idea.

Some photographs below:

001 French cavalry advancing

French cavalry squadrons on the move

002 Spanish Tercio with the batteries

Spanish Tercio awaiting orders

 

 

006 An aerial view of some of the Tercios

An aerial view of the Tercios on the move. Each Tercio has a total of 32 figures all on one base!

009 Tercios in chequer board formation

Tercios in chequer board formation.

007 Spanish battery in action

Spanish battery in action

010 The Spanish Commander and his staff

The Spanish Commander in Chief with his staff.

013 French Reformed Battalions brigaded together

French ‘Reformed Battalions’ – smaller than the Tercios but more numerous in the game.

015 French battery firing

A French battery in action.  The rules restrict the number of guns and they are not very powerful.

005 The Great Conde and his staff

The French Commander in Chief – the Great Condé – and his staff.

016 Patented move counter.

A move counter specially made for the game.

Posted in 1635 to 1659 The Franco Spanish War | Leave a comment

ESR2 – WERTINGEN 1805

              ESR2 – WERTINGEN 1805

 

1805 Wertingen french-dragoon-charge

French Dragoons charge at Wertingen 1805

Last night in the Wargamorium we had our first proper game using the second edition of Et Sans Résultat or ESR2.  The rules are set at Corps level and are quite different to what we are used to and so it took some time and discussion to get going.  We did not have enough time to finish our first game so we have left it set up until next week.

The game was chosen from the campaign booklet for 1805 called ‘Roll Up That Map’ which contains scenarios for 5 battles in the Ulm phase and another 6 battles in the Austerlitz phase of the campaign. The first is Wertingen in October and this was the initial clash between Napoleon’s Grande Armée and the Austrian Army.  The author says that this is an ideal battle for two players at beginner level which is us.

I cheated a little by increasing the size of the Austrian Force and I gave them some artillery but this was so that we could try out as many elements of the rules as possible rather than worrying about who wins or loses this test game.

The main emphasis is on the Command Phase and we found out quite quickly how important the Order system is.  In fact the Command Phase requires most attention as the subsequent phases – Movement, Fire and Close Combat are very streamlined and move quite smoothly after some practice. We did encounter some minor problems but these did not stop the game. The author operates a Yahoo group for the rules and answered my queries within a few hours.

The game started with an Austrian ‘Force’ which had just arrived at the village of Wertingen in Bavaria north east of Ulm. Their commander – Auffenberg – did not realise the French were so close and was surprised when 2 French  Dragoon Divisions appeared across the stream east of his position. The French had attack orders and immediately started towards him bypassing the village and heading for his cavalry behind.  It was obvious that they were going to try to separate the Austrians inside the village from the rest of their command.  The French have overrun two isolated Austrian batteries already and are moving at full speed towards their target.  The game continues next week.

01. Compass Rose

The first requirement. I made this and screwed it to the table as it is important for the different scenarios.

03. French cavalry crossing the stream

The two French Dragoon Divisions cross the stream. Their commander is Exelmans.

04. The village of Wertingen

The village of Wertingen lightly garrisoned by the Austrians. The French Dragoons can be seen in the top left of the photograph.

05. Wertingen from above

A bird’s eye view of the village and the attacking Dragoons. Austrian cavalry and infantry can be seen behind the village nearest the camera.

09. French cavalry starting to bypass the village

Another view of the French Dragoons. There are two Divisions comprising 20 squadrons.

10. Austrian cavalry move up to meet the French

Austrian cavalry and to their right  Grenadiers awaiting the assault.

08. Austrian infantry on the hill west of Wertingen

More Austrian reserves on the hill behind the village.

12. An overview from the south east

Another bird’s eye view of the combat.

13. Home made order markers

Some markers made especially for the game. These are not essential but we prefer to reduce paperwork to a minimum.

1805 Wertingen

 

Posted in 1805 - 1815 Napoleonic Wars | Leave a comment

ET SANS RÉSULTAT (ESR) Napoleonic wargame rules review

ESR 2 Cover page for blog report

ET SANS RÉSULTAT  (ESR) is a comparatively new and exciting ruleset from The Wargaming Company designed to reflect Napoleonic battles at Army and Corps Commander level.  The title comes from a quote from Marshal Ney after the slaughter at Eylau in 1807 –  “Quel Massacre! Et sans résultat!”

Each player is a Force Commander (Corps or equivalent) and controls a number of Formations (infantry and cavalry divisions, together with relevant back up such as engineers or pontonniers etc.).

Each Corps Commander activates an ‘Objective Order’ from the Army Commander and he in turn issues ‘Directive Orders’ which are activated for each Division under his command. The Corps Commander can intervene to ensure that the Divisional components carry out their orders to his requirements. This is done through a system called ‘leader actions’. This is a key factor in the rules as the Corps Commander can choose from a range of 10 ‘leader actions’ such as taking personal command of a unit, calling up the engineers, creating a grand battery (if he has the ability to do so) rallying units etc.

Divisions can be either ployed (in column of march) for speedy movement or deployed (in battle formation) to fight. The commander’s skill is in deciding when to deploy for battle as the length of time to do this is unpredictable. These are the only two formations as columns, lines, squares or loose order are all below the scope of these rules.

Each move comprises 4 steps – COMMAND, MOVEMENT, FIRE and COMBAT.  Three such moves represents an hour.  Movement is simultaneous and there is a choice of ground scales to suit your armies or table size.  Infantry battalions, cavalry regiments and artillery batteries are each represented by one base.

COMMAND. This is the main emphasis of the game – the orders you give, their activation and the way they are carried out.

MOVEMENT is very simplified to speed up the game. This includes ploying and deploying your Divisions.

FIRE  and COMBAT resolution is also simplified and has the effect of inflicting Fatigue points on opposing Divisions. This can result in Divisions retreating or even breaking.

Overall each player is required to make Corps Commander decisions rather than getting mired in the minutiae of formations, fire and combat. Forward planning and anticipation are the main skills required. This, together with the simplified fire and combat resolution, ensures a fast moving game.

The rules come complete with plenty of examples and a very comprehensive playsheet which alone is sufficient after a few games. There is also a very complete glossary and a section called ‘Raising and Army’ which explains the organisation of the main armies of the period together with a very detailed lists of Commander ratings and Troop gradings.

The rules are available in Europe from Magister Militum and are backed up by a Facebook Page and an active Yahoo Group where the author – David Ensteness  – will very promptly answer any rules queries.

Posted in 1805 - 1815 Napoleonic Wars | 2 Comments

1918 EXTENDING THE BRIDGEHEAD

1918-german-stormtroopers-fighting

 

SECOND MARNE GERMAN BRIDGEHEAD 1918

Our latest game was set in the Marne bridgehead in 1918 which the Germans had established and consolidated before attempting to push farther into France.  This was all part of the great German 1918 offensive and was the nearest they got to Paris and to victory. This offensive was stopped and driven back by the French armies under Foch with the assistance of American, British and Italian contingents not to mention hundreds and hundreds of FT17 tanks..

The game was played using house rules and 20mm old IT Figures which I bought over 25 years ago and which have remained forgotten ever since.

The game started with the French deployed and visible to all but not a German to be seen.  They had the advantage of hidden movement having taken up their positions during the night ready to launch a surprise dawn attack.  The German player therefore had to note the location of his forces on a map and place them on the table only as they became visible. Of course they were hidden in the woods nearest the French lines so that shooting started in Move 1 and the casualties mounted quickly.

Not knowing where to expect the enemy the French defence was spread out across the width of the table but of course the Germans concentrated their attack and after 5 or 6 moves the result was clear and after losing over 50% casualties the French commander pulled back leaving the ground to the victorious Germans.

No trenches in this area at this time as the fighting took place in open country.

The rules were simple and fast moving and overall gave a very good game and an enjoyable evening.

01-germans-emerge-from-the-woods

Germans emerge from the woods

02-stormtroopers-occupy-a-building

Stormtroopers occupy a building.

03-a-french-platoon

A French platoon defending a walled area.

04-french-platoon-in-a-wood

A French platoon in a wood awaiting orders.

05-french-in-a-building

French defending a ruined building.

07-the-germans-emerge-from-the-woods

More Germans emerge to turn the French left.

08-a-full-german-company-awaiting-orders

A complete German company waiting orders to follow up.

 

Posted in 1914 - 1918 World War One | Leave a comment

GENDARMERIE DE FRANCE DURING THE SEVEN YEARS WAR

1724 French Gendarme de France

Gendarme de France

SEVEN YEARS WAR  –  THE GENDARMERIE DE FRANCE

During the Seven Years War the Gendarmerie de France ranked immediately after the Maison du Roi. They were always placed in the first line to the left of the Maison du Roi

The Gendarmerie de France consisted of 16 companies – 10 Gendarmes and 6 Chevau-légers. They were grouped into 8 squadrons based on the distinctive colours of the sashes worn over their left shoulders.

The Gendarmes de France fought as a ‘regiment’ in Germany during the Seven Years War and comprised 1240 men plus their officers.

The composition of the 8 squadrons and the date of their creation was as follows:-

1st Squadron – Gendarmes Écossais (1422)  and Gendarmes de Bourgogne (1690)

2nd Squadron  – Gendarmes Anglais (1667) and Chevau-légers de Bourgogne (1690)

3rd Squadron  – Gendarmes Bourguignons (1668) and Gendarmes d’Aquitaine (1669)

4th Squadron  – Gendarmes de Flandres (1673)  and Chevau-légers d’Aquitaine (1690

5th Squadron  – Gendarmes de la Reine (1661)  and Gendarmes de Berry (1690)

6th Squadron  – Chevau-légers de la Reine (1664)  and Chevau-légers de Berry (1690)

7th Squadron  – Gendarmes du Dauphin (1665)  and Gendarmes d’Orléans (1647)

8th Squadron  – Chevau-légers du Dauphin (1663)  and Chevau-légers d’Orleans (1655)

Each company had its own distinctive guidon.  These can be seen in the photographs below and were purchased from Maverick Models UK. The figures are all 18mm Eureka SYW French from Fighting 15s.

01. Gendarmes de France

The sixteen companies of the Gendarmes de France divided into 8 squadrons.

04. Gardes du Corps and Gendarmes de France

The Gardes du Corps of the Maison du Roi with the Gendarmerie drawn up behind.

05. Gendarmes de France side view

The Gendarmes de France – a side view showing the different guidon for each of the 16 companies.

08. Gendarmes de France

The Gendarmes in column.

10. Gardes du Corps and Gendarmes de France

The Gendarmes with the Gardes du Corps of the Maison du Roi behind.

11. Gardes du Corps and Gendarmes de France

The Gendarmes together with the Gardes du Corps of the Maison du Roi

 

Posted in 1756 - 1763 Seven Years War | Leave a comment

CAVALRY CLASH AT RAMILLIES 1706

 

1706 Ramillies

Last night we played another War of the Spanish Succession game using the slightly tweaked house rules – Big Wigs. This time we did the great cavalry clash at Ramillies with 25 Allied regiments (100 squadrons) versus 23 French regiments (92 squadrons) in the biggest cavalry game I have ever seen on a wargames table.

To make up the numbers I had to use all of my Seven Years War cavalry as well (Old Glory and some Eureka) but they blended in quite well with their WSS counterparts.

The two villages of Taviers and Ramillies were also represented on the table and separate infantry battles also took place over them as otherwise the game would have been just one continuous dice throw for the cavalry melees.

There was little room for manoeuvre as both sides lined up in an impressive array. The allied cavalry won the day however as they used all of their elite cavalry in the front line whereas the French kept their best regiments in reserve.  All of the initial clashes were therefore won by the allies and as French numbers dwindled the Army Morale Test mechanism went against them and the French cavalry withdrew having burned their dice.  There is a lesson to be learnt there.

Some photographs below.  I have included one or two of the infantry as well. (I am a rubbish photographer).

01. French infantry have fortified the village of Ramillies

French infantry have fortified the village of Taviers on the French right.

03. 23 French cavalry regiments in the French centre

French cavalry drawn up between the villages

07. Aerial view of some of the French cavalry in the centre.

French cavalry before the start of the game.

08.  The Allied cavalry in all its splendour

The Allied cavalry in all its splendour

13. The French cavalry in all its splendour

The French cavalry in all its splendour

15. Another view of the Maison du Roi Gardes du Corps

The Gardes du Corps of the Maison du Roi in reserve.

19. French and Allied cavalry move towards each other.

The cavalries converge.

20. Danish and Reichsarmee brigades advance towards Taviers

Danish and Reichsarmee brigades advance towards Taviers

22. The first cavalry clashes on the French left.

The first cavalry clash took place on the French left

27.  Allied cavalry advancing aginst disorganised French Dargoons

Allied cavalry charge disorganised French Dragoons

28. Another cavalry clash.  This time the odds are equal.

Prussian and Dutch cavalry versus French – this time the odds are equal.

32. More Allied cavalry

Allied cavalry moving up.

Posted in 1702 - 1715 War of the Spanish Succession | 2 Comments

WAR OF THE SPANISH SUCCESSION The day is won by the Pontonniers!

WAR OF THE SPANISH SUCCESSION

The day is won by the Pontonniers!!

1704 Blenheim Marlborough

After the victory.

Last night we played another WSS games using house rules and 15mm Roundway figures.  To make up the numbers I had to use some Seven Year War figures on both sides.

The scenario was inspired by a Seven Year War battle at Vellinghausen in 1761 with a few amendments to make it a little more exciting.

The table was essentially divided into three by the Lippe river, which was impassable, and a large stream with marshy banks.  In addition there was a second stream, perpendicular to the first,  also with marshy banks just to make things more difficult.

This effectively cut the Allied force into three – right on one side off the stream, centre between the stream and the river and left across the river and cut off from the rest as the only bridge had been destroyed.  The French on the other hand were divided into only two wings – the left wing on one side of the stream and the right wing between the stream and the river.  They had no forces across the river but the Allied player did not know this.  The French player kept throwing dice for reinforcements across the river forcing the Allied player to deploy his artillery just in case.  That was all a French bluff but it kept the Allied player on edge.

The French therefore thought they had a very good chance of destroying the Allied centre with a massive blow thereby separating the Allied left from the Allied right.  The plan was sound but there were some difficulties. The centre was quite narrow and the French could not deploy their superior numbers there and also they did not realise that the Allies had a full pontoon train across the river which was ready and waiting to replace the destroyed bridge.

The second problem for the French was that the left wing failed to activate orders to advance nearly every move.  The French left was formidable and posed an enormous threat to the Allied right but they advanced only once during the entire game.  The outnumbered Allied force realised this after a while and started to move reserves over to the centre.  This was a bizarre situation but this is what happened in the actual battle so it was realistic.

In the centre the French launched their attack from move 1 as they could see the pontonniers setting up and realised they had to drive the Allied centre off the hill before Allied reinforcements could march across the bridge and tip the balance against the French.  The Allied commander immediately started to move the British Brigade across from the right to  increase the Allied defence in the centre. This turned out to be a decisive move in the game.  The Danish Brigade, supported by numerous artillery, pounded away at the advancing French lines while the Austrian Brigade moved around the left flank of the hill to meet the advancing French.

In the meantime the French had deployed their heavy artillery on the road to bring the pontoon bridge under fire in a effort to delay its construction but this met with limited success.

The French lines lost heavily as they approached the hill and in fact they did not reach  it before they started to crumble under the weight of allied fire. Firefights broke out all along the front and the allies, supported by regimental guns and all of their artillery, prevailed.  An Austrian Brigade came around the hill and attacked the French right while a British brigade did the same on the other side of the hill. The French right was eventually shot to pieces and the heavy guns had to be abandoned.  The centre brigade also collapsed under the weight of fire leaving only the French Gardes Françaises to hold back the British while the French survivors fell back.

It was a humiliating defeat for the French.  Their artillery was wasted on the pontoon bridges and they had no room to deploy their cavalry.  The Danes proved to be dogged in defence and the Austrian and British Brigades not only stopped any outflanking attempts by the French but the Austrians actually drove them back and captured the heavy guns.

The heroes of the day however were the Allied pontonniers who worked frantically under fire to build and repair the pontoon bridge so as to get the reinforcements across in time.  Once the Hessians appeared on the bridge the French knew the game was over.

All this time of course the huge French host on the left did nothing and withdrew from the battlefield in commendable order with flags flying.

It was a great game, very exciting and played by two players in one night.

Next week – Battle of Ramillies.

01. Before the game started

Before the game started. Not the best photograph but you can see the way the table is divided in three by the river and the stream and the perpendicular stream as well. The Allies are on the left and the French on the right of the photograph. You can also see the Allied left across the river and the broken bridge. The fortress in the distance is only for show and was not garrisoned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02. The French left drawn up for battle.

.

02. The French left drawn up for battle.

The French left drawn up for battle.

 

03. The Allied right moving into position before the battle.

The Allied centre moving into position before the battle.

04. The Allied cavalry on the extreme right.

The Allied cavalry on their extreme right.

05. The Danish Brigade in the allied left centre.

The Danish Brigade in the Allied centre. Their dogged defence of the hill would play a key role in the battle.

06. The Allied centre.

The Allies moving into position to defend the hill in their centre.

07. The broken bridge over the Lippe river which separated the Allied left.

The broken bridge over the Lippe river which separated the Allied centre and left.You can see the road here going off the French side of the table.  The Allies were never sure if there were French on that side of the river.  In fact there were not but the chance could not be taken when their force was strung out on the march toward the bridge.

08. The Pontoon Train arrived at the broken bridge.

The pontoon train arrived at the broken bridge.

09. The Pontoon Train moving up.

The pontoon train marching up to the river.

10. Behind the Pontoon Train the Allied Hessian and British reinforcements

Behind the pontoon train the Hessians and British.

11. British Grenadiers on the march.

British Grenadiers marching towards the pontoon bridge.

12. The French right starts its attack on the Allied centre.

The French right started its attack on the Allied centre.

13. The start of the clash for the Allied hill in their centre.

The armies come to blows. It proved to be a bloody contest.

14. An Austrian Brigade in three lines advances around the hill.

The Austrian Brigade starts it advance in three lines around the hill against the French right.

15. French heavy guns set up on the road to fire upon the Pontoon bridge.

French heavy artillery set up on the road to fire upon the pontoon bridge in a effort to slow its completion. They had limited success and in fact caused little delay.

16. The British Brigade crossed the stream to reinforce the Allied centre.

The British Brigade cross the stream to reinforce the Allied centre.

17. Despite French artillery the pontonniers continue their work.

Despite the French artillery the pontonniers have nearly completed their work.

18. The Hessians move up ready to cross the ponton bridge as soon as it is completed.

The Hessians move up ready to cross the pontoon bridge as soon as it is completed.

19. The Danish Brigade continues to defend the hil with Reichsarmee troops in support.

In the meantime the Danish Brigade continues to defend the hill against repeated French attacks. They are supported by the Reichsarmee Brigade behind.

20. A Brigade of French Dragoons hovers around the flanks looking for opportunities which never came.

A brigade of French Dragoons hovered around the flanks looks for opportunities which never came. There was no scope for cavalry in this game.

21.  A major clash between Austrians and the Irish Brigade in French service.

A major clash between the Austrian Brigade and the Irish Brigade in the French service. The Wild geese were driven back by the Austrians and the French heavy guns visible here had to be abandoned.

22. The pontonniers work frantically to repair damage done by French artillery.

The pontonniers worked frantically to repair damage from the French heavy artillery.

23. The British Brigade stood like a rock defending the side of the hill.

The British Brigade stood like a rock defending the side of the hill.

24.  In the meantime the French left made a small advance.

While all this was going on in the centre the French left eventually advanced and then stopped!

25. Allied cavalry started to move over to the centre when it was obvious the French left was no longer a serious threat.

Allied cavalry started to move over to the centre when it was obvious that the French left was no longer a serious threat.

26. The British Brigade faced off against the Gardes Francaises who are now only covering the French withdrawal.

The British Brigade faced off against the Gardes Françaises. By this stage the French had collapsed and the Gardes were really only covering their retreat.

27. The pontoon bridge now finished the Hessians start to cross.

The pontoon bridge is now finished and the Hessians have started to cross. The numbers are now against the French anyway.

28.  The reinforcements start pouring over the bridge.

An overview of the completed pontoon bridge. The pontonniers were the heroes of the battle.

 

Posted in 1702 - 1715 War of the Spanish Succession | 2 Comments