Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Chariots to the Fore

The Battle of the Crimissus, 339 or 340 BC was fought during the First Sicilian War (Greco-Punic War) in which Carthage and Syracuse fought for control of Sicily. At Crimissus, Timoleon's smaller army of Syracusian Greeks triumphed over the larger Carthaginian army of Hasdrubal and Hamilcar.

Mark and I got together chez-il, aka ANF Annexe A, for a small game based on this battle, using the Impetus rules. Not being enamoured with the recent changes, we stuck with the original version for this game.

One of the main reasons for this game was to use Mark's new Carthaginian Chariots,  conversions from the Airfix Romans set. Super aren't they?

The Carthaginian army crosses the Crimissus River, heavy chariots in the lead.

Atop their hill, shrouded in fog (left out of the game for clarity), the Syracusians see the enemy host in the valley below where the morning fog has already cleared.

Timoleon sends his horsemen to the attack, to stall the Carthaginians and gain time for his infantry to deploy.

It does not go particularly well, though.

The chariots are gaining valuable time for the Carthaginian foot to cross the river.
Sacred Band in the fore, followed by citizens, then Libyans and Numidians. The Sacred Band are Ral Patha (left) and Zvezda (right). Allies mainly Hat figures; some Minifigs at the back ahead of the Numidians.

Overview of the battlefield. Greeks (Syracusians) at right, Carthaginians to the left.

The hoplite phalanx is deployed.

The second reason for this game was for Mark to field his recently completed hoplites. A mix of Zvezda, Atlantic and Caesar figures. Zvezda javelinmen and slingers in front. Lovely.

Chariots to the fore? More like chariots on fire, as they sequentially break all of the Greek and Italian cavalry,

...then drive towards the hoplite phalanx!

Is there no stopping these d@mned chariots? Hoplites pushed back. The line disrupted!

Now, one can never blame the dice entirely, but I am getting a little sick of seeing this sort of thing when I have 7–10 dice to throw! I have preached before about the '1' tactic. Should listen to myself...

Hoplites regain their composure and counter-attack.

The last unit of heavy chariots is finally broken. They did their job though, in fine style.

Long spears locked together in a push of 'pike'!
Another Syracusian victory. The worm is turning—there are some 5s and 6s on these dice after all. Is it all too late though? Which army will break first?

The Greeks attack everywhere, victories are achieved, but did too few of them result in the breaking of Carthaginian units required to break the Carthaginian army?

 A final attack by the last available unit of hoplites and... another draw.

Result: a losing draw—both armies exceeded their demoralisation level (17 points) and so both were broken, Syracusians 19 points, Carthaginians 21 points!

Yet another close-fought and enjoyable game using Impetus. Don't those Atlantic hoplites come up a treat?

We are planning to do some more small games in the next couple of weeks prior to the fourth part of our game of the Battle of Friedland (scheduled for 9th July).

Next week: a semi-historical game pitting King Juba I's Numidians against Caesarian Romans.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

13:00–15:00: Russian high-tide? Battle of Friedland, 14th June 1807–part three

It's now 15:30 and the battle is teetering on a knife-edge.

Read on to see how this unfolded.

(Should you need to catch up, click here for part one and click here for part two).


The Russians' continued with an all-out attack on the French, now under the command of the Emperor and bolstered by the arrival of Ney's VI Corps.

For Bennigsen and his generals, the best chance of victory still seemed to be to defeat the partly-arrived French army so as to be in a position to beat the French reinforcements as they arrived.

Or, to put this in player parlance, to have a red hot go and make a game of it!

In the north, around the Dambrau wood, the cavalry struggle continued. 

Cossacks and jäger got the better of this one. The former crashing into the blown 2e cuirassiers sending them in retreat. The latter, in square, seeing off the 2e carabiniers; broken!

To their right, the 12e cuirassiers prevailed over the Emperor Cuirassier regiment.

Cossacks breakthrough, the cheek of it. Zut alors, they sent the 9e cuirassiers (also blown) packing too!

Alongside these cavalry combats Dombrowski's Poles were doing their bit for the Emperor, in typical fashion.

They'd have to hold firm as Nansouty's heavy cavalry were a spent force (failed divisional morale).

Meanwhile, in the southern sector...
Ney's first columns attacked the Moscow regiment and were driven back.

The guard grenadiers prepared to attack what remained of Oudinot's 'grenadiers'  (converged elites of line and light companies), holding the French centre.

Osterman-Tolstoy's grenadiers removed Colbert's horse battery, while the horsemen looked on!

In the Sortlack wood, the voltigeurs continued to hold up Baggowouth's jägers

Back to the north.
To the left of the Poles, the French-allied line was held by Dupas' division of Mortier's corps; holding strong, with a win and a loss in mêlée.

Sauve qui peut! The Little Russia cuirassiers drove off the horse battery assigned to Dombrowksi's division.
They then threatened Poniatowski, attached to the legion Polacco-Italienne chevau-légers lanciers (the future Vistula Legion Lancers). How beastly?!

Sensing an opportunity, Bennigsen crossed the Millstream. "I knew that I had those pontoons constructed for a good reason!"

The action is on back in the south.
Latour-Maubourg's 4/14e dragoons charged the Moscow musketeers (not them again!)— they formed square and saw off the French horsemen. (The dragoons failed to rally, so that was them done).

The 1/2e dragoons had better of it. Scratch one Russian foot battery.

With cries of "Wvenge, wvenge!" Colbert's 5th/10th chasseur à cheval, ably led by Ken, charged to avenge their countrymen artillerists. Sadly it became another rep. for the Russian players' biased view that French chasseurs always lose!

Time for a few photos to let you see what was happening at the end of 13:30 turn.

Looking from the south, Sortlack wood in the foreground, 'the pretty village of Friedland' at right-rear.

From the north, Dombrowksi's Polish division in centre-foreground.

Swinging around to the east to look diagonally across the table (NE-SW). Gallitzin's cavalry poised to be unleashed to join Uvarov's troopers?

Lastly, the opposite view, SW-NE, Ney's troops in the foreground.

Dupas' men continue to hold the line, despite heavy pressure from Essen III's infantry.

Bennigsen (left of photo) returns to his command post, having ordered Gallitzin to break around the French right flank.

Oudinot's 'grenadiers' in trouble as the Pavlov grenadiers and the grenadiers of the Guard throw their weight around.

To their left, Brün's 31e légère, in square, held against the Russian guard ulans.

French counter-attack. Marchand's division (Ney's VI Corps) pick on the Guard Militia (a contradiction in terms?!).

At the other end of the line, his troops were also successful against some of those previously resistant jägers.


In the northern sector,
... here comes the cavalry!

Dupas' men prevail. Essen III's division retreated when it failed divisional morale.

In the south,
 the next unit of Markov's jägers resisted Marchand's continued counter-attack.

Didn't see that coming. The Dutch 2nd hussars/14th cuirassiers presented a flank to the Courland dragoons...
n'existe plus!

Crisis in the French centre.

With Oudinot's 'grenadier's' broken, Colbert failed to control his 3e hussars who charged the St Petersburg grenadiers...
game over for them.

The Russian Guard Hussars just fall short of the grand battery.
Does this represent the Russian high-tide?

Let's take stock of the tabletop with a 'fly' around from north to south, firstly looking from the western (French) side.

Now proceeding north again running up the eastern (Russian) side, from south to north.

Finally, a view of some more of Julian's architectural brilliance.

These beauties, which are for the outlying villages around Leipzig, have all been made from scratch using left-over cardboard. Julian's material of choice? Cardboard from VB blocks. Aussie readers will get a big smile from that one!!
Note: the French reinforcements on the table behind: Victor's Corps and the Guard