Saturday, 28 January 2012

Sellasia 222BC. Woe to Achaia.

The latest in our series of WAB re-fights saw the combined might of Macedon and the Achaian League (me) take on a resurgent Sparta ( Paul) at the pass of Sellasia. Historically Kleomenes III of Sparta fortified two hills either side of the road near Sellasia with his phalangites and blocked the pass with his light troops and cavalry; Antigonus Doson then assaulted both hills with his phalangites and light troops and used his cavalry and remaining light troops in the centre. Due to lack of space and time considerations we chose to re-fight the cavalry battle in the centre and the assault on the Spartan left flank on the Evas Hill.

Initial Spartan deployment looked like this:

In the foreground on the Evas hill are two levy phalanxes supported by a bolt thrower and a unit of slingers; beyond them a unit of Cretan archers, three units of thureophoroi and two units of Tarentine cavalry form the centre and beyond them the right wing comprises a hoplite phalanx and anothe runit of thureophoroi.

The Macedonian battle line was set up like this:

Two phalanxes supported by Illyrian peltasts and Cretan archers are prepared to assault the Evas Hill, the centre consists a unit of thureophoroi, a wedge of Achaian Xystophoroi, two units of Greek cavalry and the Antigonid Companions. The left wing comprises a unit of thorakites, rhomphia armed Thracians and a Galatian warband.

Initial moves were fairly simple as both sides threw their centres forward and the Macedonian phalangites began a slow advance over rough ground toward the Evas Hill. The first casualties were sustained by the Illyrians under a hail of stones from the slingers on the hill.

The first combat occurs in the centre as the Tarentine mercenary cavalry charges the Antigonid Companions and Greek Cavalry. The furthest Tarentines are routed and ridden to destruction by their Greek opponents, their brethren however are held in a stalemate by the Companions.
On the far flank both sides infantry close up cautiously through the open woodland.

Aftermath of the cavalry combat, the Greek cavalry break through the Spartan centre

At this point in the proceedings the young Philopoimen leads the Achaian Xystophoroi into the fray to break once and for all the Spartan centre and win everlasting fame and glory. Unfortunately for him his Tarentine opponents led by the indomitable Pelopidas are less than obliging and the fight dissolves into a bloody slog.
Beyond them under the trees the Achaian thorakite are smashed in a single round of combat by the hoplites, while the Thracians are broken by the thureophoroi.
The overall situation at this point
So far, so good for Macedonian ambition. Despite losing the infantry combat on their left flank it appears that smashing the Spartan centre with their cavalry and rolling up the battle line is a mere formality. However the Tarentine cavalry in the centre continue to stymy their opponents for another three rounds of combat freeing up two units  thureophoroi to pin down the greek cavalry loose in their rear and the third unit of thureophoroi to counter attack across the stream supported by the archers.

The right flank attack up the hill proceeds slowly although the Illyrians offer a glimmer of hope as they begin to chase off the slingers who up to now have held the upper hand by virtue of their accurate shooting.

It is now that the disaster strikes for the Achaian League, Philopoimen is mortally wounded in combat with Pelopidas and his Xystophoroi are routed and slain to a man by their outnumbered Tarentine opponents, the centre of the battle line is smashed apart and the battle lost. The Achaian thureophoroi yield to their mercenary counterparts and the Macedonian phalanx forms hollow square and begins a slow retreat off the field covered by the Cretan archers.

Overall a good little battle this one. Despite not being able to fight the whole action there was sufficient drama and moments of tension in what we were able to do to make up for it.
The cavalry melee in the centre was the pivotal point in the action and the  main hope of either side for a quick victory. If the Macedonian Companions/ Achaian Xystophoroi had succeeded in routing their Tarentine opponents there would have been three units of cavalry loose in the Spartan rear which would have effectively won the battle for me as Paul hadn't any cavalry reserves. As it was the fight wore on long enough to allow Paul to begin to move his victorious infantry over from the far side of the table to threaten my left rear making things damned ticklish and when his cavalry won that fight against all odds it was curtains for me. Admittedly  Macedonian phalanx was still intact but lacking any support it was only a matter of time before disaster would overtake it.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A Liberators/ Tabletop World Update.

Due to some overlong days at work this week the painting progress has been a bit on the slow side. I have however managed the following output:

First base of Santander Regiment Fusileros.

There are a few more of their compatriots on the workbench currently having their trousers re-tailored with green stuff.

Progress assembling and painting the graveyard:

There's still quite a bit to do on this, mainly drybrushing and detailing but at least its moving in the right direction. It is after all a light relief project for when I get fed up with painting cross belts and shako pom-poms.

The upcoming weeks output will mostly be directed toward our Sellasia game next Saturday, I've found these handy maps:

on which to base set-up, its just a case of getting terrain and figures ready which always becomes a larger undertaking than you think.
I'm looking forward to this one having not played an Ancients game since last July and it will be interesting to see if our interpretation does the original justice, no doubt the usual level of lamentable generalship will be exposed to ridicule when the after action report is posted.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Liberator! Patriot Santander Regiment Fusileros.

The first two fusileros from another Colombian regiment. I found a mention of the red jackets with yellow facings in John Fletchers "Adventures of the British & Irish Legions" whilst looking for details of the Cazadores Britanicos.

The figures are once again Victrix Austrians with French heads, they may not be 100% accurate but at least the Austrian tunics are single breasted and have the right(ish) profile around the turnbacks.
A battalion of these fellows will be used to round out my Colombian/ Venezuelan Brigade and then its onto the foreign contingent, Venezuelan Rifles and the aforementioned Cazadores.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Fire & Fury Liberators! Game.

Finally received the photographs that Mr. Ireland kindly took during our Liberators game on 28th December so here as promised is a short write-up of the action. Due to the small number of figures available we set up a scenario with a Royalist column being ambushed by a Gran Colombian/Venezuelan division.
Initial set up was:

The objectives were simple, the Royalists were required to get as many intact units of the right table edge as possible, the Patriots were aiming to stop them and cause maximum casualties.

Initial contact, the combined Royalist light companies move forward to engage the Venezuelan blocking force in the Hacienda.
The ambush is sprung as the second Venezuelan battalion emerge from the vineyards to engage the flank of the Burgos Regiment.

The other half of the trap, the Patriot cavalry brigade and combined grenadiers begin their advance.

First blood to the Patriot Dragoons as they ride down the Royalist light infantry, then follow up onto the flank of the Burgos Regiment. The Burgos, already engaged in a brisk firefight with Venezuelan Fusileros break under this fresh blow and flee.
In the centre of the field the combined Grenadiers and the Cantabria Regiment exchange fire.

At a critical moment the FernandoVII Husares engage the combined Grenadiers in the flank and rout them, they then follow up with a charge on the Venezuelan Red Hussars and their General. This ends very badly for the Patriots, the Red Hussars are killed to a man and their General mortally wounded.

The Talavera Regiment administer the coup de grace to Patriot hopes, overwhelming the Venezuelan's in a one sided firefight. At this point the remaining Patriots vacate the field leaving the depleted Spanish to continue their march.

In conclusion a very enjoyable game with plenty of suspense. Up until the entry of the Fernanado VII Husares the Patriots were carrying all before them, thereafter the fates turned against their cause as the boys in green and yellow massacred their merry way across the field of conflict.
This is the first time we've used cavalry in a Fire & Fury game, our previous forays with AWI being purely infantry affairs, and on this evidence are very handy when used aggresively.
I don't think we will look any further for suitable rules as these fit the bill admirably, plus we are both familiar with the set now which lends itself to a nice quick progression through the game.

Next game is pencilled in for 28th January when we will return to hallowed antiquity and the battle of Sellasia 222BC.

Tabletop World Mausoleum & Graveyard. Progress.

Work continues a pace with this project, have now started to add some suitably unhealthy looking grass to the base to give a little more texture. I've got a handle on this project now with regard to the feel I want to give to the finished article, initially I was going to try something a little more ambitious for the stonework, limestone or red sandstone but that would have been a little to warm for the subject matter. Instead I'm sticking to a darker colour scheme of greys and browns, more akin to those grim little chapels and graveyards dotted about through North Wales built from basalt and slate. Much more suitable for Ruritanian Gothic architecture.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Tabletop world Mausoleum & Graveyard. WIP.

I needed to take a break from painting Liberators stuff for a week or two and this fantastic terrain piece should prove just the rest cure necessary. There's a bit less construction work to do than with the guard tower attempted previously but that means I should complete it in one go. Hopefully.

The graveyard base:

This has been undercoated in Vallejo German Tankcrew Black which gives a nice dark base to drybrush up from and also sticks like the proverbial to a blanket. The flat areas are where the gravestones and mausoleum fit.

The mausoleum:

 A little further on with this piece, a few more details to pick out & some greenery to fix and its done.

Finally these are the resin gates include with the kit, very delicate:

More to follow as it happens.

Monday, 2 January 2012

The Obligatory Yearly Review.

Yes I know not terribly original but the intellect is at a low ebb after a few days of alcohol abuse traditional at this time of year. I'm also experiencing a touch of ennui with all things wargaming at the moment so the painting output has dropped away to nothing this week.
The planned game of Liberators! went reasonably well despite having to postpone for half a day due to work commitments, the Fire and Fury variant gave an entertaining game despite the small size of the forces engaged. More to follow on this later in the week when I have some pictures to post.
On the whole 2011 was a bit slow on the wargaming front, my regular opponent Mr. Ireland and I only managed two games in the calender year the Liberators game noted above and our Panion re-fight earlier in the year, both games however were very enjoyable particularly the Panion game with all its attendant terrain building.
Other than that my gaming was limited to a few boardgaming sessions, which again were good but too few and far between.
Painting output was fairly steady throughout the year; quite a bit of Hellenistic stuff got painted earlier in the year in particular an Antigonid Army for Sellasia and a good dose of Seleucid cataphracts and auxilliary types for Panion.
The other big ancients project was a Parthian army that still remains to be finished but that will have to wait until I reach a point with the Liberators where I have enough figures painted to put together a couple of divisions for both Royalists and Patriots.

Looking ahead it would be nice in 2012 to get more figures to the table. Certainly there are still Hellenistic battles worth doing, Sellasia being foremost after that Mantineia 207BC and both achievable with the figures at my disposal.
More Fire and Fury games would be desirable too, in either AWI or South American guises it wouldn't matter, they are a nice elegant system.
Time as ever is my enemy, work commitments remain heavy and much that I would wish it otherwise needs must. Gaming must continue to take a poor second until such time as I achieve by some as yet undiscovered means a way to become a man of independent income.
Anyway a Happy New Year to you all and many thanks for the encouragements you have been kind enough to bestow throughout the year.
Regards HGA.