Marlborough, V-1s and War Elephants at MillenniumCon

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The Waco crew worked up and put on 3 games at MillenniumCon this past weekend.

The first game was a large Marlborough game on a 6′ x 18′ table using Carnage & Glory II rules.  I forgot to take pictures, so will have to wait an see if I can get hands on some.  The 10 player game went off well though.

Saturday morning led off with a large WWII game using Battleground WWII rules.  Reinforced American and British platoons, supported by almost a dozen AFVs were charged with pushing through an urban area of governmental buildings to seize a V-1 site.  Richard Wheet built an outstanding V-1 diorama, which you can see below.  With 10 players, most new to the rules, the game was not as fast as I’d hoped, but the inclusion of one gamer experienced in WGWWII, Brian Cottrell, saved our bacon.

Lastly, Raphia finally hit the table.  While I was still 5 units short of my full OOB, the game played very well and balanced.  Games were played in both the afternoon and evening sessions on Saturday.  The GMT Simple GBoH rules worked perfect, and we were able to play both games to completion (5 players per side) in just over 2 hours despite everyone learning the rules as we went along.

The first session ended with a virtual mirror of the historical battle.  Each side turned the other’s left flank, and the final result was determined by the heavier Ptolemaic foot on the eastern portion of the field.

The second game saw the phalanx’s meet much earlier in the game, and the inability of Antiochus to turn the Egyptian left quickly enough resulted in a Seleucid defeat.

A light bit of tweaking of the Egyptian Levy Phalanx ratings will be used in the next game.  But overall the game was remarkably balanced from the start.  Setup and take down was very quick.

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Which Napoleonic Period?

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Napoleonic WarsThe Napoleonic Period can be divided in many ways.  Time frame and geography are a few.  These periods are governed by changing tactics, OOBs and difference in uniform.  Here some thoughts on how I divide the periods:

1.  The French Revolution

A.  War of the First Coalition – 1792-97

Napoleon4

While covering many engagements, including Valmy and the Vendee Revolt, the interesting area for me are the Campaigns in Italy 1796-97.  These saw the emergence of Napoleon into his prime.  Battles at Lodi, Arcole, Castiglione and Rivoli present good options for gaming.  A reasonable sized miniatures OOB of Austrians and French can allow play of any number of historic and hypothetical engagements in both Italy and Germany.

B.  Egypt – 1798-1801

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Gaming Egypt is really a separate project.  Uniforms changed markedly once the French arrived in the Middle East.  Very unique units can be formed (Camelry, etc), but you’re not going to be using these forces in Europe.  Egypt also offers the opportunity to see English vs French somewhere other than Spain or Waterloo.

C.  War of the Second Coalition – 1798-1802

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Austrian uniforms, particularly headgear, underwent major changes after 1797, so the period covering major battles like Novi, Hohenlinden and Marengo argues for a new Austrian set of figures (in my case I have not bothered, but purists might object to my lack of Austrian helmets fighting along side Suvorov in Italy).

2.  Early Empire – Wars of the Third and Fourth Coalitions – 1803-07

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This takes us though the grand battles of central Europe that led to Napoleon’s dominance – Austerlitz, Jena, Eylau, Friedland.

3.  The Danube Campaign – 1809

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1809 is a very good option for a project.  The multitude of battles, fairly evenly matched forces, solid source material and real options for a campaign, including Kevin Zucker’s 1809 boardgame.  At some point, I’m going to look at this for an 18mm project using AB/Eureka figures.

4.  The Peninsula War – 1807-14

For me this is a problematic period.  I don’t know much about it, and have the sense that uniform changes over the time period make it difficult to do one OOB to cover the entire war.  The large variety of forces engaged is appealing – Spanish, French, Portuguese and British, plus large diversity within each.  For me this period is one to look at for skirmish gaming, particularly in light of the Sharpe novels.

5.  The Russian Campaign – 1812

marshal-ney-supporting-the-rear-guard-during-the-retreat-from-moscow-adolphe-yvon

My thoughts are that the lack of battles beyond Borodino, which is certainly too large for my means, leaves this campaign something to pass on.  That said, La Bataille de la Moscowa, offers as good a way possible at recreation of the battle.

6.  The War of the Sixth Coalition – 1813-14

Meissonier_-_1814,_Campagne_de_France

Napoleon on the ropes, still with a chance of pulling out victory.  Some of the largest battles of the Napoleonic Wars – Lutzen, Bautzen, Dresden and Leipzig.  Numerous smaller engagements – Hanau, Montmirail and Vauchamps.  All of the forces of the Napoleonic Wars engaged from Italy to Germany to France to Spain.

7.  The 100 Days Campaign – 1815

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Not much to add here.  This period is covered by my Waterloo game.

The French OOB – Montmirail

Generally each foot unit will be built with 18 figures, horse with 12. However, frontages may be reduced to reflect true strengths below by removal of stands and/or combination of small units.

Emperor Napoléon I + 3ADCs
Marshal Berthier, Prince de Neuchâtel et de Wagram + 2ADCs
Marshal Ney, Prince de la Moskova + 2ADCs
Maréchal Lefebvre, duc de Dantzig + ADC

Emperor’s Escort – Old Guard (1 stand each)
Guard Chasseurs a Cheval
Guard Grenadiers a Cheval
Empress Dragoons
1st (Polish) Lancers

Guard Corps: Marshal Mortier, duc de Trévise + 2ADCs
Chief of Staff: General de Brigade Lapointe
Old Guard Artillery a Pied (4 x 6pdr – 1 stand)
Old Guard Artillery a Pied (4 x 12pdr – 1 stand)

1st “Old” Guard Infantry Division: Gen. Friant + ADC

1st Brigade: Gen. Cambronne
1st Regt Chasseurs a Pied (2 Bns – 1,265 men total)
2nd Regt Chasseurs a Pied (2 Bns – 898 men total)

2nd Brigade: Gen. Petit
1st Regt Grenadiers a Pied (2 Bns – 1,393 men total)
2nd Regt Grenadiers a Pied (2 Bns – 1,044 men total)

2nd “Middle” Guard Infantry Division: Gen. Michel + ADC

1st Brigade: Gen Gros
Regt Flanqueurs Chasseurs (2 Bns – 1,042 men total)
Regt Flanqueurs Grenadiers (2 Bns – 285 men total)
Velites of Florence (333 men)
Velites of Turn (164 men)

2nd Brigade: Gen. Christiani
Regt Fusiliers Chasseurs (2Bns – 1,366 men total)
Regt Fusiliers Chasseurs (2Bns – 688 men total)

Cavalry of the Guard: Gen. Nansouty + 2ADCs
Chief of Staff: Major Laloyère
ADC: Colonel Lascours
ADC: Chef d’escadron Elie de Périgord
Old Guard Artillery a Cheval (6 x 6pdr – 2 stands)

1st Cavalry Division of “Old” Guard: Gen. Colbert + ADC
2nd “Red” Lancers (844 men)
2nd Regt d’Eclaireurs “Scouts”

2nd Cavalry Division of the “Young” Guard: Gen. Laferrière-Lévesque + ADC
Guard Chasseurs a Cheval (585 men)
Guard Grenadiers a Cheval (909 men)
Empress Dragoons (734 men)

2nd Cavalry Division of the “Old” Guard: Gen. Baron Guyot + ADC

1st Brigade: Gen. Krasinski
1st “Polish” Lancers of the Guard (600 men)
Guard Chasseurs a Cheval (511 men)

2nd Brigade: d’Autancourt
Guard Grenadiers a Cheval (300 men)
Empress Dragoons (460 men)

VI Corps: Gen. Count Bertrand, Grand Maréchal du Palais + 2ADC
7th Artillery Btty a Cheval (6 x 6pdr – 2 stands)
4th Artillery Btty a Pied (6 x 12pdr – 2 stands)

8th Infantry Division: Gen. Ricard (2,917 men total)
?th Artillery Btty a Pied (4 x 6pdr – 1 stand)

1st Brigade: Boudin
2nd Legere Regt (112 men)
4th Legere Regt (136 men)
6th Legere Regt (197 men)
9th Legere Regt (130 men)
16th Legere Regt (199 men)
40th Ligne Regt (223 men)
50th Ligne Regt (190 men)

2nd Brigade: Fournier
22nd Ligne Regt (281 men)
69th Ligne Regt (97 men)
136th Ligne Regt (582 men)
138th Ligne Regt (108 men)
142nd Ligne Regt (95 men)
144th Ligne Regt (306 men)
145th Ligne Regt (261 men)

Cavalry Division: Gen. Defrance + ADC

1st Brigade: Gen. Segur
3rd Regt Gardes d’Honneur (375 men)
4th Regt Gardes d’Honneur (375 men)

2nd Brigade: Col. Picquet
10th Hussars (548 men)
1st Regt Gardes d’Honneur (367 men)

The Prussian OOB – Montmirail

Unless otherwise noted, all Foot units are 18-figs, Horse units 12-figs.  Gun stands have 4 gunners, 6 if 12pdr.

II Armee Korps: General of Infantry Yorck + 2 ADCs
Chief of Staff:  Colonel Valentini
Quartermaster: Major Schack.
(Additional ADCs individually mounted will provide additional morale help in C&GII)

1st Infantry Brigade:  Maj. Gen. von Pirch II + ADC
ADC: Oberst von Losthin
1st East Prussian Grenadier Bn
Lieb Grenadier Bn
West Prussian Grenadier Bn
Silesian Grenadier Bn
5th Silesian Landwehr Regt (3 Bns) + Regt Commander
13th Silesian Landwehr Regt (3 Bns) + Regt Commander
2nd Leib Hussar Regt + Jager Detachment
Battery No 2 (6pdr)

2nd Infantry Brigade (Not Present)

7th Infantry Brigade – Maj. Gen. von Horn + ADC
ADC: Oberst von Zepelin
Leib Infantry Regt (2x Musketeer, 1x Fusilier Bns) + Regt Commander
4th Silesian Landwehr Regt (3 Bns) + Regt Commander
15th Silesian Landwehr Regt (3 Bns) + Regt Commander
Brandenburg Hussar Regt + Jager Detachment
Battery No 3 (6pdr)

9th Infantry Brigade (Not Present)

Cavalry Reserve: Maj. Gen. von Jurgass + ADC
Horse Battery No. 1
Horse Battery No. 2

1st Brigade: Oberst Henckel-Donnersmark
West Prussian Dragoon Regt
Lithuanian Dragoon Regt

2nd Brigade: Maj. Gen. von Kazler
Brandenburg Uhlan Regt
1st Neumark Landwehr Cavalry Regt

3rd Brigade: Major von Biberstein
3rd Silesian Landwehr Cavalry Regt
5th Silesian Landwehr Cavalry Regt
10th Silesian Landwehr Cavalry Regt

Reserve Artillery: Oberst von Schmidt
Horse Battery No. 3 (6pdr)
Horse Battery No. 12 (6pdr)
Foot Battery No. 1 (12pdr)
Foot Battery No. 2 (12pdr) – Not Present

The Russian OOB – Montmirail

The research for the Russian OOB is largely done already by Louis Berlange’s outstanding website.

I checked as many other sources as I could readily locate, and basically made some strength estimates of around 500 men per battalion.  I like 18-figure battalions, as 3 stands allows for easy identification of units in Line, Column and Square.  That means 2 ranks of 3 figures for each stand, which allows me to put a Standard in the center of the French and Prussian battalions, and then an officer and standards on each side of him for the Russian foot.  It puts me at 28 men per figure, and I like to be close to 3 figures per 100.

So on to the Russian OOB.  This is based on Sacken’s OOB as shown in official records for January 2, 1814.

Overall Command:  Lt. Gen. Osten-Sacken + 2 ADCs (Note that the highest level of command has 2 ADCs on his stand, next level 1 ADC, and lowest level just the mounted Leader)
Chief of Staff:  Colonel Benançon
Quarter Master: Colonel Count Rochechouart.
Artillery Command: Maj. Gen. Nikitine.
(The Chief of Staff will be used as ADCs and additional command to assist with Morale in the Carnage & Glory II rules)

VI Infantry Corps – Lt. Gen. Prince Stcherbatov

7th Infantry Division – Maj. Gen. Talyzin
Pskov Regt (all Foot Regts are 1 Bn only unless noted)
Moscow Regt
Sophie Regt
Libau Regt
11th Jager Regt
36th Jager Regt

18th Infantry Division – Maj. Gen. Bernadesov
Vladimir Regt
Dniepr Regt
Tambov Regt
Kostroma Regt
28the Jager Regt
32nd Jager Regt

XI Infantry Corps – Maj. Gen. von Lieven III + ADC

10th Infantry Division – Maj. Gen. Sass
Jaroslav Regt
Crimea Regt
Bialostok (2 batallions)
8th Jager Regt
9e Jager Regt

16th Infantry Division (part) – Colonel Selivanov
Okhotsk Regt
Kamtchatka Regt

27th Infantry Division – Maj Gen Stavitzki
Odessa Regt
Vilna Regt
Teraspol Regt
Simbirsk Regt
49th Jager Regt
50th Jager Regt

Cavalry Corps – Lt Gen Vasiltchikov + ADC

2nd Hussar Division (each Regt is 12 figs) – Maj. Gen. Lanskoï
Achtirsk Hussar Regt
Marienpol Hussar Regt
White Russian Hussar Regt
Alexander Hussar Regt

3rd Dragoon Division (each Regt is 12 figs) – Maj. Gen. Pantchouliechev II
Courlande Dragoon Regt
Smolensk Dragoon Regt
Tver Dragoon Regt
Kinburn Dragoon Regt
Horse Battery No. 18 (10 guns – 2 to 3 stands)

Cossacks under Maj. Gen. Karpov (not present – off doing whatever Cossacks do)

Artillery (12 guns each – 3 to 4 stands)
Heavy Batteries (12 pdr) – Nos 10, 13, 18
Light Batteries (6 pdr) – Nos 24, 28, 34, 35

Why Montmirail?

Choosing to do Project Montmirail followed a similar decision making path as prior projects.  A number of factors came into play, a discussion of which follows:

Battle size – for some reason, I gravitate toward building an entire engagement where possible, rather than just a generic force or small portion of a larger battle.  Part of this comes from living in a smaller community, which necessitates doing both sides of any engagement.  The other is likely more a psychological hangup in wanting things to be “complete” and all inclusive.  Hence my Rorke’s Drift instead of some generic colonials, Waterloo totally done, Rivoli instead of just 1796-97, etc.  I tend to want to do entire OOBs and spend some time on research.  Of course my wallet then dictates that I can’t do all of Leipzig, so smaller battles have more appeal.

Montmirail involved around 18,000 Russians, 18,000 Prussians and 20,000 French.  As Yorck was reluctant to engage initially, about 1/2 of his foot could not have reasonably impacted the battle, which brings the total OOB down several thousand men.  In addition, the Cossacks were off somewhere else, and that saves on Russian horse.  The muddy conditions also mean some Allied cannon can be avoid in the OOB, since Yorck couldn’t get the heavy guns up.  This initial small size and these historical reductions starts to make buying and painting the necessary figures more within the limits of the pocket book.

Also the geographic area covered allows the entire battle to be fought of a reasonably sized table.  Practical experience tends to teach that 6 feet is about as wide as you can make a table and still reach the middle.  An extra 2-3 feet can be added as limited places to the width.  Length is really only limited by the size of your room.  I tend to use standard 3×6 foot tables, and 18×6 is pretty good.  Montmirail can fit within these parameters.

Time Period – I have French Revolution and Waterloo covered.  The period of Austerlitz to Jena is not all that interesting to me, as it saw Napoleon pretty much just kicking everyone around.  Eylau to Friedland are less one sided, and a game in the snow make Eylau appealing.  But those are large engagements beyond my ability at battalion scale and 28mm.  1809 is France vs Austria, and that’s too close to my Napoleon in Italy project; I’ve got the Blue vs White already.  Also Montmirail has both Prussians and Russians, so with some modification I can do lots of things in the 1813-14 period, actual and hypothetical, with the OOB.

Figure Availability – This probably got me started on Montmirail first.  I came across MMPS “ready-made” painting service and it gave me some thought.  The Perry plastics are nice.  MMPS has a lot of expertise in uniforms of the period, so there is less need for uniform research.  MMPS also has the turnaround time to get it all done and the price is reasonable.  Looking from there, Perry metal figs allow the French OOB to be filled out, with the only thing missing being the Guard Scouts.  Calpe lead, Perry lead and Warlord plastics allow filling out all the Prussian and Russian needs (although it looks like I will use a few Elite figs for Russian foot command, and perhaps Elite and Front Rank for some mounted commanders all around).  All figure lines are top quality.  I’d heard a lot for years about Calpe’s quality, and this seemed as good a reason as any to try them out.  Only other thing missing at the moment are Russian Hussars, and I am looking at Elite or Front Rank for those, but will likely await the Perry releases shown on their metal Workbench.

The Need for Research – Add a French translation guide and Louis Berlange’s Montmirail website is everything you need to start on a Montmirail project.  The map is done, and but for some strength estimates, the OOB is done.  Uniformology is also widely available (particularly since MMPS has done a lot of that for me already).

What’s Special About the Situation? – First, this period in 1814 is stated by all to be one of Napoleon’s best performances.  Then you have the Old Guard present and fighting from the start in the front line.  The other similar battle is Hanau, but that would mean Bavarians and more Austrians (again, I have enough white figs).  I’ve played Waterloo and watched the Guard sit around and look nice.  In other games the Guard gets involved only for the coup de grace.  At Montmirail the Guard was the French army.  90% of the horse was Guard.  Over 50% of the foot and artillery was Guard.  Finally, Napoleon and Ney are personally present, and I want to have both those figs painted.

Old Guard Chasseurs

1st Bn, 1st Regt, Old Guard Grenadiers (Victrix Plastics – MMPS)

9 battalions of French Ligne and 5 battalions of Legere were engaged at Montmirail.  Most were severely understrength, some below or near 100 men.  However, in building the OOB, all 14 battalions will be built at 18-figures.  When playing the historical game I can either consolidate the battalions into 500 man converged units, or use only 1 or 2 stands per battalion as Carnage & Glory II is going to be keeping track of strengths per man.  The full 14 battalions at 18-figures will allow me to deploy up to 7,000 French regulars in other potential 1813-14 engagements.  Really the only thing missing are Cuirassier heavy cavalry.

French Ligne

French Ligne Battalion (Perry plastics – MMPS)

The Coalition OOB is also very diverse and will give a wide range of options for other gaming in 1813-14.

Russians

The complete Russian foot cohort (Perry plastics – MMPS)

The Russian command is a 4 1/2 infantry divisions composed of 18 Musketeer and 8 Jager battalions.  Two divisions of horse are also available, including 4 regiments of Hussars and Dragoons each.  Cossacks are also available if desired (they historically were not present at the battle.)  Again, the only thing missing are Cuirassier.

Russian Musketeers

Russian Musketeer Battalion (Perry plastics – MMPS)

The Prussians are also a diverse group.  Grenadier battalions, a full Line regiment with Fusilier and Musketeer battalions.  12 battalions of Landwehr foot, plus Landwehr horse, Foot and horse artillery, and the gambit of other horse – Uhlans, Dragoons and Hussars (including the Deaths Head regiment).

Prussian Gren Bn

Prussian Grenadier Battalion (Perry plastics – MMPS)

So Montmirail has all lot of appealing components.  The figure count is within my budget, and I can do the entire OOB.  It can all fit on one big table.  Filling out the French Ligne and Legere allows for additional hypothetical engagements.  Full and diverse Prussian and Russian corps give a lot of variation and options.  And I get a real reason to paint up Old Guard.

THE BATTLE OF MONTMIRAIL

Battle_of_Montmirail_1814The War of the Sixth Coalition culminated in the campaign of 1814 and the fall of Paris.  With his back to the wall, Napoleon faced the combined might of Austria, Russia, Prussia, Sweden, England, Portugal, Spain and many of France’s former subject German States.

The main action involved the joint advance of Austrian, Russian and Prussian against Napoleon at the head of what was left of the Grande Armee, so devastated by the defeat at Leipzig.  70,000 French veterans and newly raised “Maria-Louise” conscripts faced over half a million coalition forces.

In what is regarded as one of Napoleon’s best exhibitions of military ability, the Emperor won battle after battle, yet lost in the end.  Perhaps the best example of just why Napoleon is considered one of histories greatest generals is the Six Days’ Campaign.  From February 10 – 15, 1814, Napoleon defeated combined Russian and Prussian forces in a series of four battles, pitting Napoleon’s 30,000 troops against Blucher’s 120,000.  Napoleon inflicted some over 17,000 losses, suffering less than 3,500 in return.

The 1814 Campaign is covered well in Kevin Zucker’s Napoleon At Bay boardgame.  The Six Days’ Campaign is likewise the focus of Zucker’s The 6 Days of Glory boardgame.  Each make excellent frameworks for running miniatures campaigns.

The best concise website I have found for the four battles of the Six Days’ Campaign is 1814 autour de Montmirail by Louis Belanger.  Summary, maps, Orders of Battle and battle narratives are provided from original source material.  Of course Google Translate is necessary for those without a background in French.

Of the four battles, Montmirail provides the longest and most evenly match pitched battle.

With the battle of Champaubert, Napoleon interposed his force between Blucher and the main body of the Army of Silesia, and the corps of Osten-Sacken and Yorck, both operating well to the west.  Now isolated, Sacken’s command, including the Russian VI and XI Infantry Corps and a cavalry corps, and Yorck’s Prussian 2nd Armee Korps, attempted to reunite with each other prior to rejoining Blucher.  The clearest meeting point of Sacken and Yorck was the crossroads of Marchais, a short distance from Montmirail.  This most likely course of action was evident to Napoleon, so leaving Marmont to watch Blucher, Napoleon rushed to gain Marchais position to prevent the merger of Sacken and Yorck.

The overall situation is well represented in this animated PowerPoint map of the situation.

Yorck decided the best course of action was to withdraw north to Chateur-Thierry, but Sacken was determined to drive through Montmirail to reach Blucher.  Unable to persuade Sacken, Yorck reluctantly joined the attack.

‘s involvement was limited as he determined quickly that the rendezvous at Marchais was being contested by Napoleon.  Still Sacken proceeded with the plan, and a battle lasting

The movement of troops, particularly the artillery, was hindered greatly by muddy conditions.  The forces available to Napoleon were limited.  Ricard’s 8th Division was composed of many “Marie-Louise” conscripts.  This left only the Guard.  As such Montmirail is one of the only battles of the Napoleonic period where the Guard was actually engaged as a major combatant in the front line.  Both the Old Guard and “Middle” Guard divisions were present and heavily engaged, as was almost all of the Guard Cavalry.

700px-Battle_of_Montmirail_map

A full description of the battle can be found elsewhere.  The focus of this series of posts will focus on “why Montmirail” in terms of a miniatures project, and the steps in bringing the project to completion and the gaming table.