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Thursday, August 17, 2017

The French Imperial Guard Cavalry

Hi Team
Like most wargamers interested in the Napoleonic era I eventually found myself drawn to attempting to recreate at least some part of Napoleon's 'Guard Imperial'.
The main motivation for doing so was my avid interest in The 100 Days (Waterloo) Campaign of 1815.
Many gamers of the period shun this campaign due to the fact it's a rather small campaign in comparison to the campaigns or 1805-06, 1809 or 1812-14.
Also, the British and her allies (or The Allies and the British) are not the traditional 'Stovepipe Shako wearing' icons we associate with The Duke of Wellington but a rather 'ignominious army'.
But for me I find it a fascinating campaign full of 'What Ifs'. Napoleon concieved a brilliant strategy but his execution was abysmal.
Anyway, it's also a campaign where we see his Guard pitching in unlike most campaigns where its held in reserve. The exception being the 1814 Campaign for France where The Guard was heavily involved,...
My French Imperial Guard not surprisingly is based on that Guard that was involved in the Waterloo Campaign.
I've gone with using exclusively the magnificent PERRY MINIATURES range in 28mm throughout.
So here they are so far,... (I've still to add the Polish Lancers).
I've included a little blurb on each regiment obtained from Wikipedia (if you can believe that)!
 The Chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde Impériale (in EnglishHorse Chasseurs of the Imperial Guard) constituted a light cavalry regiment in the Consular, then Imperial Guard during the French Consulate and First French Empire respectively. They were the second senior "Old Guard" cavalry regiment of the Imperial Guard, after the Grenadiers à Cheval. The regiment had its origins in the Guides raised by General Bonaparte during his Italian Campaign of 1796. It was the Chasseurs that usually provided personal escort to Napoleon, and he often wore the uniform of the regiment in recognition of this service. The regiment was not only known for its lavish uniform, but its combat history as well.
Chasseurs à cheval (on the left) protecting the Emperor at the Battle of Friedland, while cuirassiers salute him before their charge.The Emperor is again in his green colonel uniform of the Chasseurs à Cheval.

The Dragons de la Garde impériale (Dragoons of the Imperial Guard) was a heavy cavalry unit formed by Napoleon I through the decree of April 15, 1806. The "dragoon" regiments of the line had distinguished themselves in the German Campaign of 1805, and therefore Napoleon decided to reorganize the cavalry of the Guard and create within it a regiment of dragoon guards. This regiment was colloquially known as the Dragons de l'Impératrice (Empress' Dragoons), in honor of Empress Joséphine. Following the Bourbon Restoration, they were renamed Corps royal des Dragons de France (Dragoons of France Royal Corps) but were disbanded shortly afterwards. 

The Empress Dragoons at the battle of Hanau

The Gendarmes d'élite de la Garde impériale (English: "élite gendarmes of the Imperial Guard") was a gendarmerie unit formed in 1801 by Napoleon as part of the Consular Guard which became the Imperial Guard in 1804. In time of peace, their role was to protect official residences and palaces and to provide security to important political figures. In time of war, their role was to protect the Imperial headquarters, to escort prisoners and occasionally to enforce the law and limit civil disorder in conquered cities. The unit was renamed Gendarmes des chasses du roi during the First Bourbon Restoration but was disbanded in 1815 during the Second Restoration.

The Grenadiers à Cheval de la Garde Impériale (in English: Horse Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard) constituted a heavy cavalry regiment in the Consular, then Imperial Guard during the French Consulate and First French Empire respectively. They were the senior "Old Guard" cavalry regiment of the Imperial Guard and from 1806 were brigaded together with the Dragons de la Garde Impériale.[1]
A part of the Republican Consular Guard, the Grenadiers became the senior "Old Guard" heavy cavalry regiment when the Imperial Guard was founded, in 1804. Their maximum official complement was just over 1100 officers and troopers, commanded by a general of division or a seasoned general of brigade, with some of the most famous cavalrymen of the time as commander.
Rarely committed to battle during the Napoleonic Wars, they were usually kept in reserve, alongside the Emperor, during the most significant battles of 1804-1815. When sent into action, such as during the battles of MarengoAusterlitzEylauHanau or Waterloo, as well as during a number of actions of 1814, results were usually impressive. The regiment was disbanded in 1815, after Napoleon's downfall and the second restoration of the Bourbons.
"Heads up, gentlemen, these are bullets, not turds". Colonel Louis Lepic harangues the Grenadiers à Cheval as they are forming for a charge under intense fire at the Battle of Eylau in 1807. Painting by Édouard Detaille at the Chantilly Museum.

The 2e régiment de chevau-légers lanciers de la Garde Impériale (English: 2nd regiment of light cavalry lancers of the Imperial Guard) was a light cavalry regiment in Napoleon I's Imperial Guard.[1][2] They were formed in 1810, after the Kingdom of Holland was annexed by France, but their original purpose was to serve as hussars of the Dutch Royal Guard.[1][2] The units, who were of an elite order, were known for their loyalty and military might, as well as their professionalism in and out of battle

Col. Baron Pierre David de Colbert-Chabanais leading the Red Lancers at Waterloo

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My Sharp Practice Participation Game.

Hi Team
Recently I hosted a Sharp Practice Participation / Demonstration Game at a Local Gaming Convention, BADGACON. The showcase for the Bendigo And District Gaming Association, BADGACON is in its third year so I wanted to offer a gaming experience different to the usual fare of Fantasy and SciFi and 'Canned War-games' such as Team Yankee, Bolt Action and the like.

I thought a participation game would be good activity and something that I could make would look good might attract people to the hobby.
It also had to be of an Historical nature.

The game also had to be simple to play, with enough detail to give the gamers some decisions to have to ponder over, engaging for all concerned, fast paced and above all,.... FUN.
The game also needed to be played to a conclusion in at least 2.5 hours.

I immediately thought that gaming the assault and fall of La Haye Sainte would be a great action to replay. 

I'm fascinated by the '100 Days' and have plenty of reference materials on the Campaign and in particular the battle of Waterloo.
So I'd committed to put on some kind of activity and I'd settled on a specific action,....
Now for the details,....


Firstly I need to settle on a scale or 'size' of game and for me I think 28mm is the best for a demo / participation. Big enough to catch the eye and visible to spectators and participants alike. The play or game area couldn't be more than 8 feet by 5 feet, but ideally something closer to 6 x 4.
Ultimately it was an 8 x 4 table we played on 
I next settled on 'Sharp Practice 2' as my rules of choice.
These rules are easy to play even if you've never read the rules and as long as the person running the game understands them it'll be fine.
The participant simply needs to say "I wish to do this followed by that,...". 

The 'Game host then simply states "Yes, you can do that, now roll two D6 an see how far you move,..".
SP is also gives a very realistic game and one that's fast paced. 

I initially looked at 'The Complete Fondler' (CF), a TOO FAT LARDIES Campaign / Scenario book released back when Version One of Sharp Practice was released, for some inspiration. 
Straight away I was drawn to the 'Fondler's Waterloo' scenario.
The Battle of Waterloo is reasonable well know, I have all the correct figures already painted and I have the beautiful 4Ground model of La Haye Sainte (LHS)!
The CF scenario is a series of engagements (3 in total) around and in LHS.
Taking a leaf from the TFL CF scenario I decided that the game would be played as follows:
The French would attack LHS in a series of 'Waves', (4 Maximum), with 2 wave each day as follows:
The French first wave. Game commencing at 09:30AM to 12:30PM
The French second Wave. Game commencing at 1:30PM concluding NLT 4:30PM 
Repeat as above for French Waves 3 and 4.
If the french were successful in taking the Farm in the first wave I'd simply rest the table and let the gamers switch sides!


Photos from the game in play.

                                                    ABOVE: Lieutenant Hogo Boss:

BELOW:Lieutenant William 'Willy' Spanker 

                                                                    ABOVE: Col Richard Winchester
  BELOW: Major Hanns Jobbs
  ABOVE: Major Michael Schmetkampf

The Combatants!

The French:
Each wave would consist of two 'Forces' each consisting of two formations or 24 Line Infantry (Fusiliers or Chasseurs), and two formations or 12 Voltigeurs.
In addition each formation would have a choice of the following to be added to them:
a Troop of two Cannons (one medium Howitzer and one Medium Gun)
a Storming Party of Pioneers under the command of Status 1 Leader Maximillian Shagolotte and his inconceivable large 'Chopper' (axe)
an additional force of 12 Grenadiers (deemed 'aggressive')
Giving a grand total of:
96 Line Infantry
60 Skirmishing Light Infantry (Including the 12 Grenadiers)
6 'Pioneers' (Aggressive)
2 'Guns' with 12 Gunners.

ABOVE: the 95th Rifles in The Sandpit

Leaders were allocated to the French as follows:
1 x Status 4 Leader Marshal Ney, and overall Commander of the French effort;
2 x Status 2 Leaders (Each commanding a 'Force' of Line and Lights plus supports) as allocated by the CinC (Ney);
2 x Status 1 leaders (To assist the Status 2 'Battalion' Commanders);
2 x Status 3 Leaders (To Command the two formations of Skirmishers) allocated to each of the Line Infantry formations; 
1 Status 1 Leader of the Pioneers.
There was the possibility the could get a replacement cannon, but no replacement Gunners.

By contrast the French would have their force fully reconstituted (less Leaders) as each wave was activated. 
The french player could 'Recall' any wave at any point and get all his 'dead' returned to the ranks.
Additionally the French would have Access to a formation of 20 Cuirassiers from the 2nd Wave onward.
These would be triggered if any allied troops ventured out of LHS in a group of 6 or more.

The Allies:
The allies would have the following troops to defend La Haye Sainte:
2 groups of 12 x 1st Regiment of the King's German Legion Light Infantry (1st KGL LI) with Rifles
8 x Militia armed with Muskets (rated as Light Infantry), and attached to the 1st KGL LI
20 x KGL 5th Regiment Light Infantry armed with Muskets
12 x 95th Rifles (in the Sandpit)
1 Royal Horse Artillery Medium Cannon with 6 Gunners

The Allies had the following Leaders:
1 x Status 4 Leader in the Farm Complex (Colonel Winchester, of The Prince of Orange's Staff)
1 x Status 3 Leader in the Farm Complex (Major Hanns Jobbs, 1st KGL LI)
1 x Status 2 Leader (commanding the 20 KGL 5th Regt), Major Michael Schmetkampf
1 x Status 2 Leader (Commanding the 95th outside in the sandpit) Lieutenant Willy Spanker

1 x Status 2 Leader, Sergeant Robert 'Bobby' Blurter (sidekick to Colonel Richard 'Dickey' Winchester) 
1 x Status 1 Leader, Sergeant Dan 'Polly' Pollard (of the 1st KGL LI)
1 x Status 1 Leader, Sergeant Ash Locke (of the 5th KGL)
1 x Status 1 Leader, Sergeant John Travolta with the 95th.

To add a bit of internal 'Friction' I also gave each leader some 'Personal Goals' they could achieve in addition to gaining 'Points' or 'Honour' for simply winning the game.
Some also had extra skills and traits that would prove useful or incentivies players to play a certain way.
LEFT: Marshal Ney

    ABOVE: Lieutenant Paul De Grasse      ABOVE:  Le Duke d’ Darling                         

These were as follows:

French Briefings:

Gain Honour Points (HP) by achieving the following:

Gain 30 HPs by leading your men into the farm.                                                                        

Gain 30 HP by Killing Lt Colonel Winchester.                                                                                      

Gain 10 HP by being successful in leading your men in Hand To Hand Combat (driving the enemy back)  

Gain 10 HPs by having your men be the first to enter the farm of La Haye Sainte

Gain 25 HP by achieving a ‘Personal goal’ (PG), as follow:

1. Marshal Ney: Level 4 Status. You can dispatch ADC’s to serve as Status 1 or Status 2 leaders 
keep each of your ADCs to act as your ‘will’ on the field of battle! 
For Each ADC you dispatch you drop one level of Status. You can dispatch a maximum of 3 ADC. PG: Take the farm within two attempts / Assault Waves

2. Lt Colonel Phillip Le Douche: Level 2 Leader.  PG: Have your men enter the Farm before The Duke d’ Darlings men!

3. Lt Colonel Pierre Gripper,  Le Duke d’ Darling: Level 2 Leader. PG:  Secure the garden Kitchen! There is some FANTASTIC fromage in there,

4. Chef d’Battalion Henri Renault: Status 3 Leader. PG: Enter the farm and carry off the young daughter of the farmer within.

5. Chef d’Battalion Anton Bardotte: Status 3 Leader. PG: You or your men capture a British Cannon!

6. Lieutenant Hogo Boss: Status 1 Leader. PG. Be the first man into the farm!

7. Lieutenant Paul De Grasse: Status 1 Leader. PG: Be the first man into the farm!

8. Captain Maximillian Shagolote: Status 1 leader: PG: Smash in the main gate house gate and lead your men in a successful Hand To Hand (Fisticuffs) attack. Fight with 4 Dice! Plus 4 on any task involving strength! 

To compensate for lost leaders the French CinC (Ney) could send an ADC to assist and 'Force' by voluntarily 'shedding' a status level and creating a new Status 1 leader. For example Ney could reduce himself to a Status 2 leader but GAIN 2 status one Leaders or 1 status 2 Leader.  

                                                                        Chef d’Battalion Henri Renault

Allied Briefing:

Gain Honour Points (HP) by achieving the following:

Gain 10 HPs by having your men be the first to repulse an assault.                                                            

Gain 25 HPs by leading your men into Hand to Hand whilst outnumbered.                                                                  
Gain 30 HP by Killing Marshal Ney.                                                                                                          
Gain 20 HP by Killing a French Battalion Commander

Gain 25 HP by achieving a ‘Personal goal’ (PG).                                                                                                       
1. Col Richard Winchester: Level 4 Status. Remove 2 extra shock by simply joining a group! PG: Repulse three Assault Waves
2. Major Hanns Jobbs: Level 3 Leader.  PG: Kill the Duke d’Darling! He killed your brother in 1806!
3. Major Michael Schmetkampf: Level 3 Leader. PG:  Secure the garden Kitchen! There is some FANTASTIC fromage in there,
4. Lieutenant William 'Willy' Spanker : Status 2 Leader. PG: Enter the farm and carry off the young daughter of the farmer.
5. Sgt Bob Blurter: Status 2 Leader. PG: Make off with the Farmer’s daughter and her calf!
6. Sgt Ash Locke: Status 1 Leader. PG. Capture or Kill a French Officer!
7. Sgt Johannes Travolta: Status 1 Leader. PG: Direct the fire of an Artillery piece!

8. Sgt Danny Pollard: Status 1 leader: PG: Get the wounded to safety! And return with ammo,… (double PG points)

The Allies would only have those leaders and troops listed above to play out the entire battle.
Also, after the french 2nd wave was activated they would also have an increasing chance per turn that 12 x Dutch 6th Hussars and 8 x 5th Dutch Light Dragoons might ride to their assistance under the command of 1 Status 2 Leader,...

If the French Cuirassiers were activated then the Netherlands Cavalry would also be triggered, otherwise from turn 3 of wave 3 the Allied cavalry would arrive on the field on a roll of 5 or 6 on a D6 

ABOVE: The Netherland's 5th Light Dragoons. Below: The Netherlands 6th Hussars

 ABOVE: Pas de Charge!!! The French Light Infantry advance!
 ABOVE: The Prince of Orange. A 'Non Player Character' on the table just for colour,...
 ABOVE: The RHA coming into action
 ABOVE: Sgt Pollard
 ABOVE: Captain Max Shagolotte and his HUGE chopper