Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Paper Banners for Normans

I have been playing about with hand painted banners for my Normans.

All of my shields are hand painted as are the cast on banners for my cavalry.

I made these as outlines on the PC (using open Office), printed them and then painted with Vallejo paints. I have cut them out, tidied up with paint and attached them to figures. I will take some pictures of the figures once the varnish has dried and I have them based up.

Norman army is looking pretty good now. I bought 80 Crusader infantry at salute and these are just about painted. I will have 40 cavalry, 72 Foot and 24 skirmishers pretty soon, should be enough for Hail Caesar, WAB, Clash of Empires or whatever rule set I end up with. Hail Caesar looks pretty good.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Thoughts on Modelling 1809 Austrians for Black Powder

I am now fully committed to a lengthy relationship with the 1809 Franco-Austrian war. Figures are being painted and books avidly read.

One thing that I want to get right is the modelling of the Austrian army of 1809 for Black Powder (the chosen rule set). So here is some of my thinking.

Austrian commanders seem to have a major trait of avoidance of risk. They will obey their orders, even when the orders are daft. This is because obeying orders, and failing exposed them to less personal risk then disobeying and succeeding.

Austrian commanders were unused to handling large bodies of troops. The corps system was totally new and there had been effectively no peacetime manoeuvres with formations of Divisional or Corps size prior to the Austrian invasion of Bavaria on April 10th. So bodies of troops moved slowly and commanders could not coordinate attacks by formations larger than regiments. Whilst the Austrians threw in individual cavalry regiments the French were handling them in coordinated divisions.

For Black Powder most Austrian commanders will rate as 6 or 7. Some (Hohenzollern, Lichtenstein, Nordmann) will get an 8, Karl and Radetzky get 9's. I am working on a comprehensive list of generals with Black Powder ratings.

But low ratings wont simulate the strict adherence to orders or the lack of ability in coordinating larger formations. To cover this I will use the Low Decisiveness and Low Independence rules from Page 95 of the rule book. These rules will apply to any 6 or 7 rated Austrian commanders. I will assume that the 8's and 9's are above this sort of behaviour.

Low Decisiveness means that the commander has to re-roll any triple moves (unlikely with a 6/7 but will happen) and abide by the re-roll. I am using this to reflect poor handling of large bodies of troops. I thought of applying a -1 dice penalty for brigade orders to more than two units, but felt that this might be too harsh. The Low decisiveness option should effectively eliminate triple moves for these commanders, which I hope will have the desired effect.

Low Independence means that if the commander issues his orders before the C-in-C he will suffer a minus one dice penalty. If he blunders he will take two blunder tests and choose which to take. If the C-in-C has this rating he drops one command level. I like the effect of this rule in modelling a strict adherence to hierarchy and orders. It will also have a nice side-effect. If the C-in-C is Karl and he blunders and the orders phase ends prior to subordinates giving orders, then it will simulate Karl having an epileptic fit.

Austrian Line infantry units appear to be fairly ordinary. They are brave, they try hard and they are a bit out of date. So I am rating them as bog-standard. They have the form square rule (probably Battalion Mass really). They cannot form up as skirmishers; I don't believe that they formed whole line battalions into skirmish formation. I am not allowing them to form "mixed" formation. If I allow French line and leger units to do this it will differentiate them in combat.

Some Austrian line units will be large. This will depend upon the unit and the order of battle. As I develop scenarios I will include large units as appropriate.

Austrian Grenadiers were Elite troops. I am going to give them "Elite" with the ability to negate disorder on a 4+, and "Reliable" which gives them a +1 when they are given an order.

Austrian Jagers were pretty good although I think rather poorly trained. I am making them Skirmishers (they will only fight as skirmishers). I am giving them "Sharpshooter" (re-roll one shooting dice) to reflect the rifles with which a proportion were armed. I am not, however, going to give them the range benefit of rifles.

Grenz were not what they had been in the Seven Years War. I may need to experiment with them a little. They need to be headstrong and a little fragile. The "Freshly-Raised" rule may reflect this. This rule requires the unit to test the first time it shoots or engages in hand-to-hand combat, with unpredictable results. Initially I will use this rule. I will allow the Grenz to form as skirmishers. I am going to make them Marauders (no negative effects for being distant from a commander) to reflect their independent nature.

The various volunteer units seem to be a mixed bunch. Freshly raised seems like a good option. Some will be treated as skirmish only units.

Landwehr: Most of them ran away before the battles, so not too many about. I am planning to be harsh with them. They will get "Unreliable" (No move on equal command roll) and "Wavering" (break test on taking a casualty). I could have used "Untested" instead but that works on randomising their Stamina (ability to absorb casualties) which could create a really good unit, and we don't want that to happen.

The Cavalry were pretty good when handled as squadrons and regiments. The problems came when they tried to operate in larger formations. I am going to treat all of the Austrian cavalry as standard Napoleonic troops as laid out on page 127 of the rule book. Light cavalry regiments could be large, so I will field them as such when required.

Cuirassiers only wore breastplates, not back-plates. Some accounts say that this was a disadvantage when facing French Cuirassiers. I am going to ignore this for now.

Position and field batteries are fairly standard. I will allocate a proportion of lighter guns to reflect the use of 3 pounders.

The cavalry artillery is a problem. They are sort of half way between foot artillery and horse artillery. I plan to give them horse artillery movement without the ability to limber, move and unlimber with a single order.

This covers commanders and the common troop types. I am starting to work on some scenarios and the best ways to play the battles as solo games. I will post what I come up with here.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Black Powder in 6mm

I now have a quorum of 6mm Austrians and Franco-Bavarians. I have been through all of my Adler figures and painted everything in sight.

This came about because I played a couple of games with some lovely 18mm AB figures. Really inspired by this but daunted by the lead time and expense of doing 18mm. Then I remembered the mass of painted and unpainted Adlers that I have. Quite a few French, some Austrians and lots of unpainted; French cavalry, Austrians of all sorts and a Bavarian "brigade".

So they are now painted and I am on my third solo game with Black Powder and have just ordered some more figures from Adler.

My next post will cover my thoughts on using Black powder for solo games.

Attached are some pictures. I am using two stands for standard size units at the moment. This works fine, I will go up to three stands when I get more painted. Three stands on a 40mm per stand frontage is about the same as 6x28mm stands of the same frontage at the scale I play. I play 6mm Black powder in CM instead of Inches.

Thanks for looking.

Some Austrian Grenadiers have just gone haring off towards the nearest French after a blunder.