Quatre Bras French Order of Battle

April 13, 2015

It is getting pretty close to the 16th of June.  I should probably get my order of battles down in writing.  I’ll start here with the French.

5th Division Foy 2 Line brigades each of 24 figures 1 light regiment of 12 figures

6th Division Jerome 2 line brigades each of 24 figures 3 light regiments each of 12 figures

9th Division Bachleu 2 line brigades each of 24 figures

Cavalry Division Pire 1 lancer brigade 1 chasseurs brigade

1 heavy battery 1 field battery 1 horse battery

Cavalry Division Kellerman 1 currasier brigade 1 dragoon brigade

CinC Marshal Ney  2nd in command Marshal Reille

The units are not strict 1 for 1 matches with the actual battle in terms of numbers.  Line units, for instance, represent about 2000 men though some will represent slightly more or less.  The artillery was a bit tricky for the French as each stand represents 2 actual batteries.  Since they had 3 field batteries, 1 heavy battery and  1 horse battery it was somewhat difficult to assign numbers to each unit but we must consider that the French had some of the best gunners in the world at the time.  So giving them 1 battery of each, if nothing else, the number of guns represented (48) are close in number  that actually fought in the battle (46).

I’ve had no time to setup and take photos of my troops.  As for progress, I am finishing up the last unit of Brunswickers.  I only have 2 units of British guards to paint for the infantry.  Then it is 5 stands of Allied artillery, a few allied generals and 2 French generals.

Sometimes it’s good to be a pack rat!

April 6, 2015

I’m moving along quite well with my Quatre Bras project.  I’ve made some adjustments to the Brunswick AAR.  The final tally for them should be 1 Line Brigade, 2 Light Regiments, 1 Light Cavalry Brigade and 1 artillery battery.  This cuts down on my painting a bit and I don’t have to paint any drummers!  The command figure is a Hussar waving his saber complete with shako and tall plume…the uniform of the Duke of Brunswick.

Speaking of commanders, I was stumped as to what figure I would use for the Prince of Orange.  It seems that “Slender Billy” had a hybrid uniform.  He wore a Dutch Hussars uniform with a dolman and a bicorne common to most generals and marshals of the time – a head swap I suppose would do.  While rummaging through my bag of Old Glory French command looking for a couple of suitable figures for Reille and Foy (generic generals really), I came across a figure with a bicorne and a dolman slunk across his shoulder.  He even has stripes sculpted on the side of his pants.  Billy!  I’ve found you!

DF-Like Rules posted

April 1, 2015

As the title says!  You can find them in the “Old School” section of this blog.



Mini Quatre Bras

April 1, 2015

Our second attempt at my Don Fetaherstone-Like rules was using a scenario from One Hour Wargames based on Quatre Bras.  The red side gets a full compliment of troops randomly determined.  They choose two to start the game with.  The other troops arrive in pairs on turn 3 and turn 5.   The blue side also gets a full compliment of troops.  They move on the board via the North-South road on turn 1.  As we were simulating Qautre Bras, we decided the French should have to remove a unit bringing their initial total to 5.

The order of battle is as follows:

Red had 3 line infantry, 1 light infantry, 1 heavy cavalry and 1 light cavalry.

Blue had 3 line infantry, 2 light infantry and 1 artillery.  I played the blue side and elected to eliminate 1 of the light infantry units.

The battle started with my troops entering the board in march column I had enough room to enter the artillery, 1 line unit and my light infantry.  red had setup with a light unit in the woods and a line unit partially garrisoning the town at the cross roads.  With the exception of the artillery firing and some skirmishing in the woods, not much happened until about turn 5.

The situation at the beginning of turn 5.  Skirmishing in the woods with turn 3 reinforcements (Red) just moving into position.

The situation at the beginning of turn 5. Skirmishing in the woods with turn 3 reinforcements (Red) just moving into position.

The battle opened well enough for Blue.  I elected to use the French plan.  I sent 1 brigade around the pond while the rest of my forces advanced up the center.  The light infantry attacked through the woods.  Firing opened up all along the line.  I scored some lucky hits on the Red cavalry and drove them back.  the following turn I would deliver another lucky volley and the cavalry would be reduced to just 4 figures.   The battle in the woods and in the center swayed back and forth.  As the turn 5 reinforcements arrived and the Red infantry took up position between the town and the woods, I managed to score many its on the Red light infantry.  It was below 50% strength while I was still above 50%.  Things couldn’t look better right?  The next picture tells all.

Blue infantry in the center only barely manage to rally and only with the help from the officer nearby.  The flanking infantry broke from a charge from the light cavalry.

Blue infantry in the center only barely manage to rally and only with the help from the officer nearby. The flanking infantry broke from a charge from the light cavalry.

My light infantry failed a subsequent morale check and fled the woods.  The following turn, it failed again and left the game.  Red’s light infantry made the morale check, despite taking heavy casualties and held the woods.  The two relatively fresh Red infantry units pressed the attack and delivered many casualties while my volleys did little.  the artillery scored hits throughout the game, only missing twice.  However, with only 10 rounds of ammo, by game’s end, it only had 1 or two shots left.

The game played out like the actual battle.  For those not paying attention, notice that the random setup gave Red cavalry and Blue none.  Blue had artillery while Red had none.  The units reacted like units under fire.  Any unit that takes casualties during the previous turn must make a morale check before moving.  At one point, I had the opportunity to flank a Red infantry unit but my own infantry barely passed morale and were not allowed to move.

We ironed out most if not all of the wrinkles in the rules.  The one last problem/omission is what happens if a unit that is due to make a morale check is charged before it has a chance to move.  The solution is to throw the morale check immediately.  If it passes then apply the die result to the charge reaction table and see how the unit behaves.

The rules are now uploaded and can be found in the “Old School” section of this site.

Bloody Big Battles…First Impressions

January 30, 2015

bbbBloody Big Battles is a simple game designed to play out large 19th century battles in an evening.  The book is 56 page black and white magazine style book.  The rules of play cover just 14 pages and include several examples on movement, shooting and assault.  The game requires 2 six-sided dice and a largish table along with many stands of infantry.  The nominal scale in the book is 1000 infantry or cavalry per base or 24 guns for artillery.  The ground scale is approximately 150 yards per inch.  These numbers are scaled up or down depending on the size of the scenario played.  Speaking of scenarios, there are 8 included with this game manual covering the entire Franco-Prussian war.

The author has based this game largely on Fire and Fury ACW rules set but has greatly simplified many aspects.  Units, regardless of size, become spent based on their training level.  A raw unit becomes spent if it lose just 1 stand while a veteran unit can take 3 hits before becoming spent.

Several aspects dealing with morale are built right into the maneuver table.  As units are raw, trained or veteran, one of the results of shooting is to halt a charge based on the charging units training level.  This will cause no damage but will cause disruption if the unit in question is not better than the result rolled.  For example, I roll an R result when firing at a charger.  That unit is trained so the unit will still charge home.  As well, when rolling on the maneuver table, if the unit in question is in good order, some results will allow the unit to recover a stand if the training level is high enough.

There is one oddity that stood out for me.  When a unit is in a reinforced line (deployed deep by game terms), it may only shoot with the front rank.  But if that same unit were assaulting, it may shoot with BOTH ranks.  I am not sure why this is unless it is because the unit in question is performing some sort of rolling fire drill as it advances.

Otherwise, shooting and assaulting are similar to Fire and Fury.  Each stand is worth so many fire points on the fire table.  Total these points up, roll 2D6 and check the result.  Defender fires first followed by the attacker.  The big difference is the 2D6 instead of the D10.

Assaults also work like Fire and Fury but each player rolls a single D6 and adds up modifiers.  A quick note, the rules sate that the dice are compared immediately and the difference is modified up or down based on attacker and defender.  Attackers will add modifiers while the defenders will subtract.  It would be more straight forward if each player were to roll their die, add modifiers to it and then compare.  It’s a minor quibble.

The rules set covers weaponry from 1815 through 1900.  This means that you can have a wide variety of troops represented on the table top.  As units are ostensibly divisions, this means that much of the tactical detail is abstract.  The reason I say this is that you can probably extend the game pretty easily all the way back to 1700 when armies became truly large.  For instance, there are rules for armies being passive which is a -1 penalty when trying to maneuver a unit.  This can be applied to most armies through the Seven years War.  There are fire control modifiers which will give you a +/-1 combat shift depending on how good/bad your troops are.  English/Dutch troops in the Wars of Spanish Succession might be average while other continental troops would get a penalty for rank fire.  So while this book is clearly aimed at 19th century Europe, the nuts and bolts are there to extend this game to earlier periods.

I picked my game up from FRP games for $20.  Other places are selling the game for $25.  If you enjoyed Fire and Fury but want something a little lighter in concept, you should check these rules out.




Quatre Bras using Featherstone’s Rules Pt 1

January 27, 2015

My old gaming friend has landed back in the area, hopefully for good.  he has expressed interest in doing some miniature gaming again.  I’ve been toying with the idea of using a modified version of Featherstone’s Horse and Musket rules from here on out.  They are simple and give a good game which is what most of my gaming friends want these days.  I have enough figures based and ready to go so we can test all the finer points and modifications.  Among these points are a completely revamped morale system.  One roll determines the fate of the unit in question.  Most of the other changes are minor tweaks to make combat a little less deadly.

“So what does this have to do with Quatre Bras?” you ask.  Well, my ultimate goal is to make a stylized game for the battle.  Each unit will be a Brigade sized unit of 24 figures.  Light infantry are outlyers and will be represented by 12 figure “regiments.”  Cavalry will also be represented by 12 figures.  Finally, artillery represent 2 batteries represented by a single stand and 4 gunners.

The game will be stylized in that, although each unit is a brigade, they will behave like battalions for combat, forming up in squares columns of assault and so forth.  Most of the figures in my collection are minifigs 15mm painted by several of my friends, and I some 38 years ago.

Infantry are based at 3/8″ per figure.  I am putting them on stands of 3 with a single split stand of 2 and 1 figures to make change for casualties.  Cavalry are based at 1/2″ on stands of 2.  Artillery are based on 40mm square stands.


Got Trees?

January 25, 2015
JTT HO Trees

JTT HO Trees

Our hobby can be expensive.  These days, it is hard to find inexpensive terrain.  I have noticed tree manufacturers are still selling, but at a premium price.  There was a kickstarter not long ago for a company called “War Trees“.  They were making resin trees ready for the battlefield.  The pine trees did not look like much but the deciduous trees looked like they would do.  The problem was that each tree cost about $4US.   Sadly, the funding was unsuccessful as they did not generate any interest.

The other day, I was up near a local hobby shop and popped in to see what they had in their model railroad scenery.  I found a bulk back of 24 HO scale trees (3″-4″ tall) for about $30.  This was the best deal I had seen in a long time.  I decided to take a chance.  The trees are made from natural material and come with small plastic bases.  The bases are inadequate to hold the tree up reliably on their own.  So some wider bases will have to be manufactured.  The plastic bases can still be utilized as they are molded to look like the roots at the base of the tree.  The flocking on the tree also seems to shed pretty easily.  I remedied this by giving each tree a generous coat of dull coat.  I am not finished basing them yet…who am I kidding!  I have not even got them started!  I’ll post some pictures when I get them done.  There are also other bags of 36 N-Scale trees (2″-3″) and 55 micro scale (1″-2″) for the same price.  Company website is here.



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