Renaissance galleys in action

BATTLE OF LEPANTO/NAVAL BATTLE 1571

Turkish Galley 1571.

Last night saw thew first ever naval battle played in the Wargamorium.  It was set in the Mediterranean in the 1570s around the time of the Battle Of Lepanto.

The ships are 1/300 scale and they come in kit form which needs some assembly and painting and the end result is worth it as you can see. These were supplied by one of our group who also umpired the game.

The game consisted of two Venetian galleys versus one Ottoman or Turkish galley accompanied by two Turkish galliots which although smaller are definitely more manoeuvrable and this was reflected in the rules.

The two squadrons arrived at either end of the table simultaneously and as their firepower is restricted both sides started to manoeuvre immediately into close range where not only artillery could be used but so too could small arms.  The ultimate aim was to board and capture the enemy ships after some hand to hand fighting.

Fighting at the Battle of Lepanto

Soon after the game started two galleys clashed head on and after an exchange of fire and an extended melee the Venetians managed to eliminate the enemy crew and capture their ship.  In the meantime the smaller galliots attempted to outmanoeuvre the other Venetian galley and launch a joint attack on the first galley which was engaged with the Turkish galley. Although the galliots were far more manoeuvrable and ran rings around the Venetians they eventually found themselves inside the range and angle of the Venetian heavy guns and both were destroyed.

It was a clear cut victory for the Venetians and an encouraging omen for the upcoming battle at Lepanto.

01. The Ottoman squadron

The Ottoman squadron

02. The Venetian squadron

The Venetian squadron

04. The galleys close for action

The galleys close for action

05. The galleys clash while the others manoeuvre

Two galleys clash while the others manoeuvre.

07. The battle in progress.

The little galliots continue to manoeuvre around the second Venetian galley while the main clash is still ongoing in the foreground.

09. The galliots manoeuvre to attack one of the galleys

The two galliots move in to attack one of the Venetian galleys

10. The end of the galliots

The Turkish galley in the background has been defeated and captured by the Venetians. The small galliot has also been defeated and captured while in the foreground the wreckage represents the sunken second galliot. The galliots may have been more manoeuvrable but the heavy guns of the galleys soon put an end to both of them.

11. The victorious Venetians return to port.

The victorious Venetians return to port towing their prizes behind them. Note the Turkish banner which has been removed from the Turkish galley and is being dragged behind the victor as a trophy.

Posted in 1571 Mediterranean Naval., Uncategorized | 2 Comments

FRANCO SPANISH WAR 1635 to 1659 Part 2

1643 Rocroi Mounted Spanish officer

Franco Spanish War 1635 to 1659 game concludes with a Spanish victory.

 

Last night we finished our first game using the Tercio Brevis Edition rules with a “Fair” victory for the Spanish.  This is because the rules stipulate that at the end of the 7th move if one side has lost one less point than the other then a “Fair” victory is awarded.  This is a rather arbitrary system but at least it does provide a decision so the game does not go on until the last base is removed.

Overall we were very pleased with the rules and will definitely play them again.  The mechanisms are simple and yet we discovered many subtleties as the game progressed.  Again we had to resist the increasing temptation to introduce a number of house rules in order to tidy up some wordings  but we have decided to press ahead with the rules as they are until we have mastered them fully.

We particularly liked the Order Cards and the value and defence system although there are quite a lot of them which did lead to a some confusion.  Otherwise our only real problem was the absence of a comprehensive playsheet and so we made one ourselves which we have improved on for the next game.

This ruleset still gets the thumbs up and already we are planning another game for next week.

Some more photographs below……

02. Overview as both sides move into killing range

An overview as both sides move into killing range.

10. An overview clearly showing the Order Card system in operation.

A bird’s eye view showing the Order Card system in operation. The Order Card system worked very well.

06. The Spanish Commander

The Spanish Commander of the Army of Flanders – Captain General Don Francisco de Melo.

11. The end as the Spanish Tercios break through the French battalions.

The end as the Spanish Tercios break through the French line.

END

 

 

Posted in 1635 to 1659 The Franco Spanish War | 2 Comments

FRANCO SPANISH WAR 1635 to 1659

The Franco Spanish War 1635 to 1659

1643 Rocroi 2

Last night saw the launch of the Franco Spanish War 1635 to 1659 in the Wargamorium using Tercio Brevis Editio Rules for the first time. These rules can be downloaded here  268954336-Brevis-Editio-Tercios-English

All of the figures used were from the Totentanz Miniatures Thirty Years War range and it has to be said that these are truly excellent 15mm figures, beautifully sculpted with practically no flash and a pleasure to paint. I am hoping to see more figures from this manufacturer in the near future.

The Franco Spanish War 1635 to 1659 was the result of French involvement in the Thirty Years War. The first French minister, Cardinal Richelieu, declared war on Spain because French territory was surrounded by Hapsburg territories. According to Wikipedia there were 25 land battles and  naval engagements during the war so plenty to choose from. This war saw the end of the dominance of the Spanish Tercios and the emergence of France as a great power. The most famous battles were Rocroi won by the Great Condé and the Battle of the Dunes won by Marshal Turenne.  This battle was also noted because some English regiments fought on both sides.

The rules  are translated from the Spanish and gave a great game.  The mechanisms are simple and yet subtle we were more than happy with the value and defence systems used to reflect the different nationalities and formations. There is a forum on which to post any rules queries although I have to say that the responses are not always quick.  We played the rules straight from the book but there was a strong temptation to introduce some house rules which we had to resist for the moment anyway.

We started with a simple game on a plain flat table and both sides advanced towards one another.  The order system is very good and forces players to anticipate the next move as the type of order also dictates what the unit’s possible reaction to the enemy can be rather than just acting and reacting whatever way they chose. Despite the profusion of order cards on the table we rather liked this system and players are free to create smaller less intrusive cards if they wish.

The game is designed to finish after a minimum of 5 moves and a maximum of 8 moves so a game should normally be completed in one night.  As this was our first game and players only saw the rules just before the game started our play was slower and we will complete the game next week but we expect future games to be over in one session.

We have since bought the printed version of the complete rules and although all of the essential mechanisms remain the full set does include some extra features and a comprehensive command system which we will try the next time.

Overall we give a resounding thumbs up to these rules so far and an impressive score of 98.4%!  The only deduction is for the slow reaction to posted rules queries which issue I am sure the authors can address quite easily.

Some photographs below.

044

Both sides drawn up before the battle. The large bases on the left are the Spanish Tercios while the smaller and more numerous bases on the right are the French ‘reformed battalions’.

IMG_0624

A view from the French side showing the Order Cards system. These are turned over when each unit is activated so that their orders can be seen by all.

IMG_0630

A bird’s eye view of the armies converging.

045

French battalions drawn up behind their artillery.

051

Spanish Tercios drawn up in chequerboard fashion

056

The French commander, Louis – the Great Condé

069

A Spanish Tercio ready for action.

070

The Flanders Tercio.

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French ‘Reformed Battalions’.

074

A cavalry clash on the Spanish left flank. Both sides have suffered losses. Advancing on the left can bee seen a Cuirassier regiment armed with pistols as well as swords.

076

Spanish Tercios advancing in echelon.

Part 2 of this battle to follow………………

 

 

 

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

Samurai

Samurai 2

Last night we had our first Samurai skirmish game using the Daisho rules.  As this was our first attempt we kept it small and manageable with only 5 figures a side on a 3 x 3 table. Our umpire was well read on the rules and knew a lot about Japanese warfare of the period. He also supplied the most magnificent figures and even though the game was small we got a whole evening’s entertainment.

The experience was most enjoyable and my first time to play such a low level game.  Every figure has lots of characteristics and skills which can be advantageous or disadvantageous depending upon the situation. The game is very dice dependent but ideal for a few players rather than large scale games and will definitely be added to our list of regular games in the future.01. Ninjas approach the village

Ninjas approaching the village – we did not have any Japanese scenery so European medieval houses had to be used instead.

02. Ninjas crossing the bridge

The Ninjas used their superior speed to rush the bridge.

03. The Ronins are ready

The Ronins are ready and waiting. There were 5 Ronins. The little guy hiding alongside the house was in fact the village idiot who kept running around in circles. He was controlled by the Umpire and had to be captured alive by the Ninjas. Nobody knew why exactly.

 

 

 

 

04. Ronin archers reduce the odds

The Ronin archers reduce the odds

06. Hand to hand fighting

Hand to hand fighting. The Ronins eventually managed to eliminate the Ninjas but not without losing some of their men.

08. The last of the Ninjas before they are wiped out.

The end of the Ninjas and a win for what is left of the Ronins. The village idiot kept running around and is reported to be happy.

END

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Samurai | 2 Comments

CRIMEAN WAR 1854

Raglan views the battle

Raglan views the battle

Having landed unopposed at Calamita Bay in the Crimea in 1854 the allied French and British armies have marched south towards Sebastopol with a view to taking the city and destroying its naval and port facilities.  The Russians have decided to make a stand along a line of hills outside the city  in an effort to stop them or at least to delay them while the city’s defences are improved.

This game was designed to playtest our in-house rules for the period and so far they are surviving quite well.  The allies have advanced and are engaging the Russians all along the line. Both sides have a mixture of Divisional Generals from poor to good and this affects the performance of the troops in their Divisions.  Command and control are important factors and will ultimately determine the outcome of the game.

So far the allies have advanced into contact but are finding the Russians harder to drive back than they thought and a tough slogging match is scheduled to continue next week.

An overview of the battle showing the Russian positions on the left under attack by the British in the foreground and the French in the background.

An overview of the battle showing the Russian positions on the left under attack by the British in the foreground and the French in the background.

The French columns advancing the turn the Russian right wing.

The French columns advancing the turn the Russian left wing.

The British lines advance on the Russian right wing

While the British lines advance on the Russian right wing.

The French close on the Russian right wing.

The French close on the Russian left wing.

The Russian left wing prepares for a stiff defence

The Russian left wing prepares for a stiff defence.

The Russian left wing cavalry takes up position waiting to exploit any favourable situation.

The Russian left wing cavalry takes up position waiting to exploit any favourable situation.

At the same time the Russian right wing prepares for the British assault.

At the same time the Russian right wing prepares for the British assault.

The British Guards advance in support of the attack. These are the best troops on the table.

The British Guards advance in support of the attack. These are the best troops on the table.

More British infantry wheeling into support.

More British infantry wheeling into support.

The Russians prepare confidently for the British onslaught.

The Russians prepare confidently for the British onslaught.

A rear view of the French advance.

The French starting to come into contact with the Russian left wing.

French supporting columns quicken the pace.

French supporting columns quicken the pace.

_____________________________________________________________

PART 2 – A STUNNING RUSSIAN VICTORY

The action continued last night but this time there was no doubt as to the direction the battle was taking.  Nothing less than a stunning and glorious victory for the Russian Army in the Crimea.  From his deathbed, Czar Nicholas ordered church bells to be rung across the empire and a Te Deum to be sung in Moscow.  Profound disappointment reigns in both London and Paris and Austria and Prussia are reconsidering their position as ‘neutrals’.

Both the British and French Commanders blamed each other of course but in truth both had deployed badly to start and had attacked piecemeal on too broad a frontage.  Their obvious inability to co-ordinate their efforts highlights the need for a supreme allied commander in this theatre. The Russians stood firm with their accustomed doggedness and with a number of well timed counterattacks proved once again that the bayonet is superior to the bullet. Suvorov’s ghost was smiling down on them.

While all sides are considering the positions, below are  some photographs from The Times correspondent who was present throughout the battle –

An overview showing the magnitude of the British collapse on the allied left wing.

An overview showing the magnitude of the British collapse on the allied left wing.

British Hussars rushing up to help cover the retreat of the infantry.  The cavalry were badly placed from the beginning and arrived too late to be of any use.

British Hussars rushing up to help cover the retreat of the infantry. The cavalry were badly placed from the beginning and arrived too late to be of any use.

 

Briish infantry retreating.  Their superior firepower was not enough to stop the Russian columns and their artilllery was of little help.

Briish infantry retreating. Their superior firepower was not enough to stop the Russian columns and their artillery was of little help.

The British Guards in disarray.  These were the best quality troops on the table but not even they could hold back the advancing Russians.

The British Guards in disarray. These were the best quality troops on the table but not even they could hold back the advancing Russians.

The unstoppable Russian columns continue their relentless advance against the survivors.

The unstoppable Russian columns continue their relentless advance against the survivors.

 

The Russian steamroller.  "Quantity has a quality of its own" as a future Czar once said.

The Russian steamroller. “Quantity has a quality of its own” as a future Czar once said.

MEANWHILE ON THE ALLIED RIGHT WING THE FRENCH WERE NOT DOING MUCH BETTER.  THEY GOT ENTANGLED AMONG THEMSELVES AND ENDED UP ATTACKING THE RUSSIAN DEFENCE PIECEMEAL. THEY WERE REPULSED AT ALL POINTS.

The Russians defend the villages.

The Russians defend the villages.

The French managed to occupy of the villages which was their only achievement of the day.

The French managed to occupy one of the villages which was their only achievement of the day.

The Russian defence held firm.

The Russian defence held firm.

Another view of the Russian defence.

Another view of the Russian defence.

The French columns advanced individually and unco-ordinated .

The French columns advanced individually and uncoordinated .

Rear view of the Russian defenders.

Rear view of the Russian defenders.

The dogged defence of Holy Mother Russia.

The dogged defence of Holy Mother Russia.

Overall the rules worked quite well and will need very few tweaks before the next game – assuming the allies have not retired to their respective fleets and gone home.  Indeed they might be well advised to set up a defensive perimeter around their landing places as the confident Russian army awaits orders from St. Petersburg.

End

 

 

 

Posted in 1854 Crimean War | Leave a comment

FRENCH INVASION OF ALGERIA 1830

1830 Algeria French landing 2

By 1830 Algeria was part of the Ottoman Empire but in reality was pretty much independent of the Porte.  The city of Algiers had been home to Barbary Pirates for generations and a number of attempts had been made in the past to eliminate them but without success.  Britain had bombarded Algiers in 1816 but this did not stop the piracy. The British were concerned about French expansion into Africa but were delighted at the same time that the Algerian pirates had been eliminated.

The amphibious landing at Sidi Ferruch was the biggest such operation ever attempted before World War Two.  33,000 men and their guns and stores were landed in one day from specially built rafts carried on the ships’ decks. This was considered to be an amazing feat at that time.  The French landed at Sidi Ferruch and marched to the city of Algiers which fell after a few days’ siege. The Dey of Algiers surrendered with the city and went into exile in Naples with his harem.

It was the start of a long campaign for the French which lasted until 1847 by which time the army numbered over 100,000 men.

Many Napoleonic personalities fought in the initial campaign.  The first commander was General Bourmont who gained notoriety by defecting to the Allies during the Waterloo campaign 15 years before. D’Erlon, also of Waterloo fame, commanded the Army in Algeria at one time as well.

The infantry regiments comprised only two battalions.  Any man deemed to be not fit enough was transferred into the third battalion which was left behind in France. The heat was intense and many young men died of heatstroke in the first few days.  The shako proved to be unsuited to the heat and, after much experimentation, was finally replaced by the ‘Casquette d’Afrique’ which eventually developed into the famous kepi.

The French infantry in 1830 marched under the Lily Banner of Charles X who was the last Bourbon king of France.  He was deposed shortly after the landing during the 1830 Revolution in Paris and succeeded by King Louis-Phillipe – the Citizen King – who was from the House of Orléans.  The tricolour flag and shako cockade were subsequently re-introduced into the French Army.

The Zouaves, the Chasseurs d’Afrique and the French Foreign Legion were formed shortly after this time.  The Turcos and Spahis came some time later.

Below are some figures painted for the French invasion of Algeria in 1830.  The skirmishing figures are Waterloo Dutch-Belgians by Campaign Game Miniatures (CGM) which are ideal except that there are no figures in this range wearing epaulettes suitable for Grenadiers and Voltigeurs.  1815 French CGM figures could be used for those of course.

French infantry in open order struggling manfully up the beach ar Sidi Ferruch.  Note the Lily Banners of the Bourbon King Charles X.

French fusiliers in open order struggling manfully up the beach at Sidi Ferruch. Note the Lily Banners of the Bourbon King Charles X.

Another view of the same.

Another view of the King’s troops. 

 

The next few photographs show the French infantry after the initial invasion but this time with tricolour flags and cockades.  These figures are mostly Eureka 18mm Waterloo French infantry.  The only modification to the figures is the removal of any protruding coat buttons as the 1830 French had single breasted jackets.  The Grenadiers’ and Voltigeurs’ Napoleonic plumes had to be shortened.

Eureka Figures this time including Grenadiers and Voltigeurs.

Eureka Figures this time including Grenadiers and Voltigeurs.

Note the tricolour flag which replaced the Bourbon flag after the 1830 Revolution in Paris.

Note the tricolour flag which replaced the Bourbon flag after the 1830 Revolution in Paris.

The Grenadier company on the right of the line.

The Grenadier company on the right of the line.

Advancing inland.

Advancing inland.

Posted in 1830 - 1845 French in Algeria. | 4 Comments

SEVEN YEARS WAR – MORE FIGHTING IN THE HESSIAN SALIENT

SEVEN YEARS WAR 

More fighting in the Hessian Salient

The Hanoverian General Auguste Friederich von Spörcken

The Hanoverian General Auguste Friederich von Spörcken

General St. Germain

General St. Germain

The Hessian Salient saw more action in the Wargamorium when an Allied force under the Hanoverian General von Spörcken defeated a French force under Lieutenant –General  St. Germain.

At first things went well for the French when their cavalry secured control of the French left effectively preventing the English infantry brigade from advancing further over a small hill.

On the French right two brigades of infantry and three brigades of cavalry wheeled to contain the Allied left along a line of woods and a small village.  Von Spörcken however held the village with three regiments of Grenadiers who proved so tenacious that the French were unable to drive them out.  This proved to be the crucial battle here as had the French pushed through at this point the entire Allied line would have been taken in the rear.

Over on the French right their cavalry defeated the Allied cavalry and victory seemed to be in the French grasp but it was in the centre where the crucial action took place between Hanoverian and Hessian infantry brigades on the one hand and two French infantry brigades on the other.  Two large firing lines formed and blazed away at one another until through sheer attrition the French centre finally collapsed and the victorious allies advanced through the French centre.

Artillery had of course contributed to the carnage and at one point the Allied cavalry reserve had managed to surprise and overrun some French heavy batteries but the firefight in the centre had decided the battle and the French cavalry superiority now had to turn its attention to covering the retreat of the infantry.

A very clear cut and convincing victory for General von Spörcken.

Lots of photographs below:

The armies drawn up for battle.  The French are nearest.

The armies drawn up for battle. The French are on the right.

Early in the battle the French right starts to turn the Allied left.

Early in the battle the French right starts to turn the Allied left.

Allied Grenadiers occupy the village.  Their defence was an essential element in the Allied victory.

Allied Grenadiers occupy the village. Their defence was an essential element in the Allied victory.

In the centre the Allies advance into firefight with the French

In the centre the Allies advance into firefight with the French.

Allied artillery in action in support of the centre.  Note the civilian train drivers.

Allied artillery in action in support of the centre. Note the civilian train drivers.

The firefight continues in the centre.

The firefight continues in the centre. Hessians to the right and Hanoverians to the left.

The French cavalry advancing on the Allied extreme left.

The French cavalry advancing on the Allied extreme left.

Hanoverian and British Grenadiers defending the village.

Hanoverian and British Grenadiers defending the village.

Hanoverian Dragoons uphill from the French.

Hanoverian Dragoons uphill from the French.

The French cavalry defeated the Allied cavalry on the extreme left.  The open area behind the Allied line is clearly visible and French victory looks likely.

The French cavalry defeated the Allied cavalry on the extreme left. The open area behind the Allied line is clearly visible and French victory looks likely.

In the meantime the French lost the firefight and their centre collapsed. The Allied centre suddenly found empty space in front of them.

In the meantime the French lost the firefight and their centre collapsed. The Allied centre suddenly found empty space in front of them.

 

At one point the Allied Reserve Heavy Cavalry Brigade having overrun a battery of heavy guns found themselves next to the French Commander in Chief.  He managed to move safely away in the next move.

At one point the Allied Reserve Heavy Cavalry Brigade, having overrun a battery of heavy guns, found themselves next to the French Commander in Chief. He managed to move safely away in the next move.

The Allied right wing starts to advance now that the French centre has collapsed.  A decisive victory for the Allies.

The Allied right wing starts to advance now that the French centre has collapsed. A decisive victory for the Allies.

Posted in 1756 - 1763 Seven Years War | 4 Comments