Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Ligny - A Clash of Wills (Bills) Part One

 What a day and what a game! Blucher (played by Billy) wore his smartest straight jacket to oppose the arch villain Napoleon Bonaparte (played by William) on the field of Ligny for our 200th Anniversary 100 Days Campaign bash. Both sides were ably supported by various Billy's and others with the sole aim of eating as many pork pies as possible and detecting invisible windmills...no, don't ask. Players from far and wide attended but I lost count of them when I had to remove a sock. With Blucher under lock and key and Napoleon with his lips about a bottle of his own brandy the slaughter-by-dice could begin...
St. Amand occupied by part of Ziethen's I Corps
 St. Amand la Haie and the ground between also in the remit of I Corps
 Pirch's II Corps was east of Ligny
 Ligny was heavily defended and fortified.
 ...along with the farm house
 Thielemann III Corps on the left flank
 Enter the French. Vandamme's III Corps moves on St. Amand and la Haie simultaneously

 The players plans were a closely guarded secret. Agents used copious amounts of beer to loosen Colin's tongue but he had cunningly inured himself to its effects...by meticulous practice!
 All eyes are on I and III Cavalry Corps deploying facing in the direction of Tongrenelle

 Opening shots...
'Ayyy, Giuseppe I justa hadden idea'
 The Mario brothers discuss an idea for a game should they survive...
 Battery's soften up Ligny

 St. Amand begins to burn
 the assault goes in...
 Pressure is exerted all along the front
 More troops file passed Napoleon sans le windmill...no, don't go there...
 An envelopment is developing at Ligny
 combined with a frontal attack
 the Ligny brook is little obstacle to infantry
 Fighting is fierce for control of St. Amand
 The French appear to be everywhere
 the defenders prepare to take the shock
 On the higher ground behind the brook the reserves await orders
 Concentration of force looks telling in Ligny itself
 The third prong of the attack tries to force the other side of the town
 Prussian cavalry are sent to support the farm position
 Efforts on both sides are considerable
 fighting rages around St. Amand...
 ...pressure is relentless...
 the French are breaking through...
 Again, an envelopment
 More French head towards the high ground to cut off the supply of reinforcements to the beleaguered defences.
 The Guard Corps makes its appearance.
 Its gunners provide artillery support to III Corps (Vandamme) and IV Corps (Gerard)
 Gerard presses on...
 Ligny is in grave danger
 The French break in!
 but they suffer heavy casualties in doing so.
It looks bad for old Vorwarts! Perhaps now is the moment to unbuckle his sleeves and give him a sword (and take the whoopee cushion off his saddle)

Will the Prussians hold the line?

Is Wellington stuck in heavy traffic with a dickey sat nav?

Who stole the windmills?

For the answers to all this and much, much less...tune in next time for the grand finale!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Ligny - Colouring in

Continuing the step by step 'How We Do Scenery' theme we leap lithely from sepia to colour...and here's how...
Having marked out roads, placed bridges and buildings we mark out in 'rough' flock (flock that wipes its nose on its sleeve and drops its H's) where the wooded areas will be.
Years ago I got the chance to buy a job lot of flock but since then we've made our own with sawdust and dye. Once the sawdust is coloured, sieve it. The fine stuff (majority) will fall through to become the flock of basing and general scatter (no relation to colonel willy nilly) but you are left with the slightly too large flakes. These can become leaves for home made trees and hedges but, if you mix various colours, it makes nice wood, forest and copse floor cover.
 Moving troops through wooded areas is a pain if you constantly have to move the trees. Better, we have found, to mark the area covered by the wood with rough scatter and then put down the odd tree to denote type of wood. In this way you can move trees about within the 'patch' without being accused of "Burnham Wood to comes to Dunsinane..." or moving the scenery (cheating). Clearly defined wooded areas are a boon (no relation to Daniel)
 At the same time you can fill in the roads and begin to scatter on the main colour which is the low ground.
 You can be generous at this stage because it's the main and largest area. No profs or dips to movement or vision...
 Don't worry about enthusiastic colouring as the 'tidy' stage comes last (no relation to the Deadwood stage)
 High ground is marked out with your lightest colour (D'uh) and lowest marshy ground with the darkest of greens.
 This is literally how you do it. Medium level (12 to 18 inches) to give the flock some dispersal room on the way down. Shake gently to get even coverage. Incidentally, if you do the same thing with quality talc you get a brilliant snow effect.
 Despite the picture, of and ice cream tub full, very little flock is used to cover a very large area. Altogether two standard bags will easily cover a battlefield of 8 x 6 feet...
 ...you just need to vary the colours, of course. The more accurate you need to be...
 ...the closer you need to get. At low level you twist your fingers like adding salt to food.
Changes in terrain type need to be clear and obvious. Then you need to just identify areas that need tidied up...
 ...and do a bit of close in work...
 ...add a few trees...
 ...some hedges and foliage...
 Blue flock for the Ligny Brook itself and (because the banks in places are not passable to artillery) the marshy areas are represented by the darkest green flock of all. I know rivers and streams are rarely, if ever, blue, but it's the contrast that gives everything definition.
 ...add a little lichen...
 and a few fence posts and stuff to mark out boundaries.....and we're done.
 Meanwhile, Colin has been massing his giant Prussian Army (eagerly contributed to by 'Shiny' Mark and his dad Roy). He spent a lot of time sorting out the OOB. As you may notice, he has layered the various Corps in boxes by Division (Brigade to the Prussians).
We salute his dedication in collecting such a huge number of empty beer crates for the cause...or will do, as soon as he's dried out.

Feel free to ask questions, make suggestions and/or general comments.

Many thanks as usual to the lads for adhering to the motto of the Chinese Electric Company...'Many hands make light work'.

Next week: Pre-game tweaks and French OOB. Game Saturday 24th January DV. All welcome. Post game run ashore.