Monday, 30 April 2012

Friedland 1807 In 15mm - The Day Out

 Half the Russian commanders arrived late so, the other half engaged the French and the shooting match began. The French were well organised, motivated and confident of the easy victory. The Russian were, however, lined up (as per the day) against the river and arrayed like the wrong half of a firing squad. 'Oh, but who will save the day' I hear you cry (yes, I should lend my ears out to GCHQ) The noble (see also ignorant) new batch of Russian commanders arrive just in time to ignore history and go over to the offensive...and very offensive they were too.

Dave and Paul, the main supports to the totally impartial umpire (who stood at the head of the table shouting 'Vive l'Emeror!' swigging Napoleon brandy and playing French marching songs) played a blindingly good game with calm replies to stupid questions and gently, but firmly, refuted impossible moves and claims.

'read my badge then do as you're told'
 The main strength of the French Army was supposed to be in the southern end of the pitch but there had been some transfers to the centre...

 From the Russian perspective the massed columns looked quite intimidating...
 After a shaky start the Russian cavalry put on a magnificent show to the Northern end..
 ..racing over the hill to strike at the enemy who were pressuring the infantry...
 The town was well defended and had good communications to the rear.
 Over the bridges and on to the approach road...
 The town itself heaved with men...
 Meanwhile, Lannes Grenadiers tried to force the centre left flank away from the rivers edge...

 They were repulsed but the cavalry reserve had them covered.
 They not only looked good...but performed well. It was amongst the most numerous 15mm armies I've ever seen.
 Infantry casualties among the Russians were, as you would expect, high...but as one General, ever mindful of his men's welfare commented..."Well...plenty more where they came from".
 An effective way of communicating orders as this General is just about to punch an officer in the back of the head, south paw, I believe.
 Casualties marked by rings; one ring for one casualty, two for the Mrs, three for an irate postman, four usually destroys the unit and five for the Olympics.


 Town..busy...
 Southern flank Russian cavalry chomp at the bit waiting for a gap big enough to allow them to cross...
 Yet more French...
 The collections of Ferdy and Paul, French and Russian respectively, were on display and very effective they looked as you can see from these shots...
 In the North the Russians gained ground...
 ...and exploited well...
 The town was constantly under pressure...
...and probably would have eventually fallen..
...but it would have taken a lot of time and would soak up a lot of infantry.
The abandoned site of the Russians previous positions.
The view from the rear edge of town facing North.

...and this one because I like it.

The French agreed on a French victory. The Russians agreed on a Russian victory. So, we all agreed on a draw...just a slight change to history.

This, as usual, is no scientific analysis of Friedland but it shows that with an approximation of what was there Russian middle management might have achieved more. Napoleon had the generals on the day. The Russians may well have been tempted to say 'You just can't get the staff nowadays'.

My thanks, as ever, to all the wargamers taking part. We added a few Englishmen to the Brotherhood of the Sand from Leeds and Derby. The locals were out in force...and we were fed royally too.



Saturday, 28 April 2012

Build Up to D-Day - Part Two

The ground begins to take shape. Beach and hinterland become more distinguishable.




 Obstacles in place...

 ...Anti-landing craft poles and anti-tank barriers...
 Sea wall covered by emplacements...
 The shoulders of the exits covered by strong points (WiderstandsNester) from WN60 to WN74...Groups of interlocking defences able to hold off attacks independently of each other.
 These cover the possible vehicular routes off the beach
 Bunkers await troops.
 The difficulty with 20mm stuff is that the height of buildings make it seem like you can see the beach from a long way inland which is, of course, not the case.
 The German defenders got a pretty good view from the waters edge anyway.
Beach hut for rent. Available 6th June onwards...
 The 716th and the 352nd Infantry Divisions had but to survive the initial bombardment to enjoy a 'target rich' environment.
 It will prove in this game (as it did on the day) difficult to know what is shooting at you and from where.
 The beach ends where the embankment of the sea wall begins...along the line of the shingle marked here and there with wire.

'Dragons teeth'...
wire...
88's...

...rather them than me...

This one show the close country inland just off the beach....

Next time...German figures and equipment.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Build Up to D-Day - Part One

Assembling for the Invasion of mainland Europe are the men of the US 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions along with their service support. Their particular area has be code named 'Omaha' and is one of five assault landing beaches  in the initial strike of the Western Allied Forces against 'Festung Europa'. This is our representation of their story...






 All the Sandmen have answered the call...dig out your Yanks we need all you've got

 ...every box, cabinet, draw and shelf has been raked for every last GI we own...
 Landing craft too. Every type LCVP, LCM, LCT have begun to assemble to carry the Eight over sized Battalions of the assault wave...
Boxes of figures long hidden emerge from their storage spaces into the dazzling daylight.
 Yup, all of them...mine..Colin's...
..Alan's...Tom's...Stuart's....
...and assembly is still on going...
Meanwhile, the terrain develops...
Wet sand is shaped and contoured...
Buildings and equipment is planned and ready for placing...
...roads  are marked in outline as all the detail is assembled and made ready.