Friday 28 May 2021

Paris in the Springtime - part 1 - The City of Love?

For our second outdoor game of the season I opted for a lightly modified version of the Paris game played in London back in far-off 2019.  See here for the first part of the report on this earlier game.  The game was set in May 1871 as French government forces close on the Commune-controlled city.  The Commune forces were led by General Cluseret and Colonel Rossel.  Govedrment troops were commanded by Marshal MacMahon, with Generals Gallifet and Cissey.

An exact* recreation of 1871 Paris.  Keen students of ecclesiastical architecture will recognise Notre Dame in the background.  Cynics may suspect it is in fact a repainted garden ornament bought a few years ago at a Dutch car boot sale for 2 Euros.  The same cynics may mistake the city walls for some bits of toy forts.
The Commune authorities had taken a number of hostages including the Archbishop.  The Government players were allowed to place two spies in the city.  Despite my many hints the Commune players sadly refused to be drawn into 'spy-fever' or mutual suspiscion.
Once again we used the paving to mark areas - any stone with a building on it was deemed to be built up.  The buildings were mostly HO scale plastic.  Figures for the Commune forces were plundered from a number of boxes spanning periods from 1860 to 1938!

One of the Commune barricades, manned by a variety of civilians.
The Hotel De Ville, with Communard Deputies lounging in front.
MacMahon's first objective was to reduce Fort d'Issy.  my version was adapted from a Britians vacformed plastic fort with added paint and balsa.  The 25pdr was used for all artillery fire.  The fort was commanded by a Colonel Megy - not the most reliable or stable of men!
Government troops advance.  Lloyd kindly provided the Versailles forces - everything else was looted from my own shelves.  Many of the figures were in fact repurposed ACW plastics.
The fort's guns kept up a steady if erratic barrage while Government gunners tried to keep the defenders' heads down.  Certainly Col Megy was a rare sight on the battlements.
Gen Cluseret sent forces out from the city - would he attempt to relieve the fort?  Well no, he wouldn't.
The dice mark the hits sustained by the mighty plastic walls.  But only from field artillery.
MacMahon's chaps had suffered during the approach - but life was cheap to the Marshal.
As night fell the Versailles forces prepared for a dawn assault.  When they entered the fort it was deserted - the garrison had fled and of Col. Megy no more was heard!

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Two evenings at Waterloo - part 2

 As the second evening of action commenced the Prussians arrived from the French right.  This finally galvanised Ney into action.

An overview of the mess.  The Allied right is being hard pressed by the French - but can the Prussians save the day?

By now Wellington was rushing troops from left to right (from his point of view) as the Dutch evaporated.

The Prussians began to edge round Ney's flank...
...and the morale chits were stacking up.

At this point I suggested that both sides consult their victory conditions.  For the French this meant having two units on the north edge of the board within 6 inches of the road to the north.
Napoleon and a pair of Guard units managed to achieve this.  

It can now be revealed that the Emperor's true objective was less the road to Brussels and more the cheap wine on sale at the Carrefour supermarket which these days is situated just off the board to the north.  Truly then have I trod in the Emperor's footsteps....

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Two evenings at Waterloo - part 1

 A few weeks ago I ran Waterloo as a remote game for six players over two evenings.  This was prompted by the discovery on Wargames Vault of Evening Napoleon by Alex Trumier.  I think the download set me back about £5.

I had played through a few turns of a game some months previously and so was completely confident* that all would go smoothly.  Above is the table setup with the French deployed - the playing area is 2x2 feet!  Toys were all from my collection of 15mm.

The Cast List:
Wellington - Tim C
Picton - Pete
Prince of Orange - Mark
Napoleon - Simon
Ney - Jerry
Grouchy - Martin (he was away on holiday...)
Blucher - John
and of course...

Both sides are now deployed.  The dark brown area marks the lower slopes of Mont St. Jean, the green hills the top of the ridge line.  The three built up areas are (from left) Hougoumont, La Haye Sainte and Plancenoit.  The coloured counters at this time mark the deployment/arrival areas of the Allied (yellow), French (green) and Prussian (red) armies.  In subsequent photos the markers are morale chits.  Nasty things.

The initial French assault on MSJ.  The Guard are following up.

French cavalry on the right.  They were strangely inactive in the early part of the game.
The armies getting stuck in.  By now Wellington is about to send the Dutch/Belgian Div to his right flank.
The Emperor wondering if it's time to commit the Guard.

A desperate British cavalry attack on French artillery.
The Prince of Orange (top left) leads his men in person.
Morale chits continue to proliferate!
Cavalry aside, the French force was by now fully committed.  So who would show up first - Blucher or Grouchy?

Monday 3 May 2021

Broken Bersaglieri

 Following the Isonzo game, John mentioned he had a few broken figures which looked like my Starlux Bersaglieri. Some weeks later I dropped off some bits I had for John and he presented me with a bag of bits which included the disheveled trio above. Happily they only needed sticking back together and were then based and varnished to match my existing figures. John’s figures are in the front rank. A welcome addition but I’m still not convinced that running while playing tuba(?) is a good idea….