Prussian Dragoons

Prussian Dragoons entering the fray. They have been quite long time in making, as have been some other cavalry squadrons since I changed the layout from 2 bases per regiment to much more realistic 4 bases per regiment. Good news are that it is far easier to show depleted regiments, and calculate strengths in squadron basis. Incidentally Napoleonic regiments tend to have around 4 squadrons each.prussian dragoons - 1

In Prussia like in many other countries, dragoons were considered universal cavalry capable of taking any role in the battlefield. At the time of Napoleonic wars, of course the “any role” was somewhat diluted by the fact that cavalry always had a higher standing than infantry but there were genuine instances where Dragoons actually fought on foot. Technically not light, nor heavy they were equipped with saber and around 20 per squadron with carabiners. Their military and social standing were probably a bit less than diminishing cuirassiers.prussian dragoons - 2

Dragoons would of course be the cavalry trump card in future conflicts until cavalry arm died in all intents and purposes around 1920’s. Pretty much no other cavalry formations would survive Napoleonic wars intact. This epoch was to become the wansong of hussars, cuirassiers and other exotic formations.prussian dragoons - 3

Final real fighting of Dragoons came finally in 1970’s in Angola.

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Westphalian Battalion

Reinforcements for DSLB are due. This time it is turn to bring in first of few Westphalians. Exact number is not known at this time, but I guess I will come up with some nice figure. These are actually some older versions retouched. I do like Westphalian uniforms, and would also like Bavarians but unfortunately the Baccus Bavarian line will not see rework in some time – or so I heard.

I am, however looking to make little Italian contingent, especially the rather heavy emphasis on the Austro-Hungarians. So many interesting possibilities…

Ruled by Napoleon’s brother, Jérôme Bonaparte, Wesphalia was a kingdom that lasted from December 1807 to October 1813.  During the brief period of existence, Wesphalia contributed to Napoleon’s grand tour not only money, but also troops and supplies. Regardless of Napoleons demands, Wesphalia was quite successful enterprise – probably because young Jérôme was far better administrator than general. 

Large quantity of Westphalian men perished in the Napoleon’s Russian tour. After the Battle of the Nations Westphalia fell again in the Prussian hands and the kingdom was abolished. After losing his kingdom Jérôme went out to become Prince of Montfort. Finally on 24 June 1860 he died in natural causes, having lived interesting and eventful life.

dsbl-westphalians - 4dsbl-westphalians - 5dsbl-westphalians - 6dsbl-westphalians - 1dsbl-westphalians - 2dsbl-westphalians - 3

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Acquisition – Minor Scenics

This will probably take a while to complete and explain but what is a game without sheep grazing in meadows or cattle just being cattle? Another day I went on to see the Perfect Six not to look for anything particular, but then realizing that he has few things I really needed. Graveyard bits, which I was too lazy to do myself, and cabions which I have found immensely irritating to do. Then I realized that I could certainly do with few barrels, sacks and barricades – and then some sheep and cattle. Some of the stuff is of course for the 10mm folks, but some are, and can be used for pretty good effect on the DSLB as well.minor-scenics-1.png

It seems that besides of quite agreeable postage rates, Perfect Six does pretty good job with sculpts and cast. Models are very nice and crisp for the scale. Here’s some shots of the items. Delivery was quite fast and there were nothing missing, damage, or miscast. I can recommend.

minor scenics - 4

10mm Frenchman guarding barrels with 6mm Westphalian support.

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Barricades – they are good size for both 10mm and 6mm.

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Cabions are very crisp and very good indeed!

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DIY graveyard. A bit of flash on the stones but nothing dramatic.

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Scale is pretty good. However, now that I am thinking of it, memorial statues would be nice – for example Ney 😉

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Modular meadow – Terrain, part IV

May I introduce the modular meadow. First of the system being well… meadow module. Does not look much, just a patch of terrain, but it is very, very, very flexible and relatively large patch – this would be about the mid size.

The idea of modular meadow is twofold.  First, it is very hard to keep long grass standing when terrain map is rolled number of times over. Second, I find it necessary to alter the base map layout at times with larger features that are not incorporated. For example elevation chance more vivid than I get from regular mat.

So, I created overlay module(s) which are thin, can have high grass, pond, or water features, stones, rocky surface, or pretty much any of the specialities that come to mind. Could be fields too, and will come to that probably at some point. Modules – because they are overlays, can of course contain roads, or cover existing roads, fields etc. Intention is to keep the generous enough not to create harsh edges (albeit this model has evil tendency to wrap at the edges still). Their scale is also intended to work for the 10mm scale Sharp Practice.

Further ado, Polish army elements marching past the meadow module:

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More of them to follow, in different sizes and shapes…

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Line of Sight

Biggest issue with most games is the command and control, complete ignorance of weather and pointless skirmishers. I cannot say that I like command radius and that is the greatest grievance of DSLB. I do like the unpredictability of the troop activations, and the skirmish system which is abstract, but does represent them quite neatly. I have previously thought about the command structure, but ignored equally important factor: smoke, dust and haze. During black powder era battlefield has a tendency to become rather quickly very hazy affair. Tens of thousands of muskets discharged repeatedly in area encompassing few square kilometers does create very thick hindrance.

So, I thought of following. Battlefield would have a Visibility Condition Level (VCL), which would gradually chance for the worse during the conflict. Smoke, haze and dust all contribute to the overall battlefield VCL. Visibility Condition is set as percentage: Maximum would be 100% and minimum would be 10%. Excellent Condition, and without intervening obstacles, unit, or commander could see 60cm away (about 1km). Reduced to minimum, distance would be 6cm (about 100m).

Weather and Conditions

Base Visibility Condition can be reduced by weather, and reduction can be any amount desired. Rounding to closest 10% would make things easy of course. Weather such as torrential rain, mud fog etc. have other ill effects:

  • Mud reduces move rates by one (L to M, s to VS and so on). Unit can always move minimum move but to doing so and not having sufficient move capacity, unit receives disorder. Example: Unit in line (S move) moves uphill (reduction to VS) in mud (no reduction possible) = Disorder. Unit can only gain 1 disorder this way.
  • Rain reduces visibility and approach dice (drizzle 80% VCL, Torrential 60% VCL and reduce one die from approach, eg. line would have 3 dice instead of 4).
  • Bitter cold reduces Army break point by 1 or 2 depending on severity.

Smoke, haze and dust: During the battle, every discharge of massed infantry, gun batteries, or burning location will contribute to the total amount of hindrance in the battlefield. Each 5 approaches, or gun battery shots (or elements of Grand Battery) will reduce the Visibility Condition Level (VCL) by 10%. Two 10 sided dice could be used to keep track of the battlefield VCL. Example: After 20 approaches, and gun battery shots  VCL would be 60% and units could observe enemies no further than 36 cm away (3L).

Fire: Unit can set Buildup location on fire by spending an action and retreating back from the location with 1 additional disorder. Such location contributes to the VCL by 10% and cannot be entered, or occupied by any unit.

Wind: Fresh breeze can reduce the effect of smoke. In this case, every 10 approaches or gun shots contribute 10% to VCL.

Additionally, messages would have increased chance to become lost.

Effects of line of sight: Unit which cannot see another unit, cannot move to approach distance of the unit until seen but they can probe towards the enemy positions.

Order Keywords

  • Defend – this keyword would mean that units can be set to defend the named position. If position is already occupied at the time when sighted, units stop. Unit cannot approach enemy unless forced out of the position by someone else.
  • Probe –  Maximum of 50% of the brigade strength can move towards enemy positions, but can engage if enemy is seen and has more disorders or are numerically inferior.
  • Advance – Unit(s), up to whole brigade must take control of named position.
  • Reinforce – Unit(s), up to whole brigade must move to reinforce named position.
  • Withdraw – Unit(s), up to whole brigade must conduct withdrawal and not engage any enemy.
  • Regroup at X – units must attempt to regroup in named position.

Note that there are no orders that specify one to attack, or general attack. Subordinates will only accept orders that specify named positions because only covered ground counts. Orders cannot have conditional complexities. Attacking enemy is action that follows when position is contested.

Any thoughts?

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Project Hagelberg – Map

I am now committed and the lead  mountain shall be shrinking after a while.

Challenge with Hagelberg is the area where engagement took place. Assuming that I will stay with the thinking that 12cm equals 210 meters, my mat provides 1,75km x 2,6km stretch of land. There are three possible ways to orient the map around the battleground, but not sure which one to choose. Original situation looked as follows:

hagelberg 1813

Courtesy of Wikipedia

First possible orientation is not entirely satisfactory, albeit it does provide access to both Hagelber, and Klein-Glien, both of importance. Entry points for the Prussian and Russian forces are present, but is lacking on the left, where some of the Prussians were waiting. This is the least favorite.

new hagelberg 1

Second possibility is to take more of the forest, where the Prussian attack was mounted from. Problem is that Klein-Glien will be then almost an off-board objective (which could actually simplify things). Another matter is that the units arriving from Lubnitz would come from off board – which is not necessarily a bad thing either. I do sort of like the layout, since there would be room to maneuver. French could do a fighting withdrawal towards hagelberg 2

Third option is the attempt to include everybody, but may become too hagelberg 3

Unlisted option is of course to chance the scale by adding another 500m to the map, but that would not be quite right, would it. 🙂 In any case, the idea would be that for the Prussians to win, they would have to completely control both Hagelberg and Klein-Glien. Should French successfully fight their way to Klein-Glien, they would thwart the Prussian plans. In this the Cossacks would play crucial harassment role.

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Project Hagelberg

Before I move on to Hanau, I have to revisit Battle of Hagelberg, 27 Aug 1813. Not only because it is a small battle, but also because the situation is interesting. Last time there were insufficient forces, including but not limited to complete absence of the Cossacks, and map which was way too small.

This time I am opting to take battalions of 4 stands each, and cavalry of 4 stands, and cover the full battle. Since the painting hiatus have finally ended and I find myself enjoying the decorations of the Napoleonic era, I think a goal needs to be set.

For French, the required manpower would be:

  • 8 Battalions of regular infantry (done)
  • 1 Westphalian Line Battalion (done)
  • 1 Croatian Battalion
  • 2 Saxon Battalions
  • 2 Medium Foot Artillery Batteries (1 done)
  • 1 Hussar Regiment (done)
  • One Regiment of Combined Squadrons (done)

Prussians would have:

  • 1 Regular Line Battalion (done)
  • 4 Reserve Battalions
  • 12 Landwehr Battalions (5 done)
  • 2 Regiments of Landwehr Cavalry (1 done)
  • 2 Cossacs
  • 1 Medium Foot Artillery Battery (done)

This means that, again, reinforcements are needed. If I calculated correctly, I am in need of:

  • 4 Reserve Battalions
  • 7 Landwehr Battalions
  • 1 Landwehr Cavalry
  • 2 Cossacs
  • 3 French Battalions to be painted as Saxons and Croats
  • 1 Medium Artillery Battery
  • 1 Windmill
  • A farm
  • Town that would resemble Hagelburg itself

Considering how quick and easy Reserve Infantry and Landwehr are to paint, this should not take forever. I would probably get about 6 battalion worth  of reservists doubling the Prussians to around 22 battalions.  French and allies, such as Westphalians and Saxons would have a boost of 12 additional battalions.

That said, should the acquisition include potential for Hanau at later occasion, some additional forces would be needed for French, in fact a whole lot of Imperial Guard…

  • 2 Battalions of Imperial Guard light infantry
  • 2 Battalions of Imperial Guard fusiliers
  • 2 Battalions of Imperial Guard Grenadiers
  • 2 Regiments of Grenadier a Cheval
  • 2 Regiments of Cheval de la Garde

And to supplement Austrian cavalry:

  • 4 Regiments of Chevauleger

Considering that, total forces of French would be standing somewhere around 31 battalions (!) and about 12 regiments of horse once all completed. Quite sizable force for DSLB and probably would have to start looking for a another ruleset.

Now it would be a good time to share any experiences of March Attack, or other good rules?

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