Thursday, July 29, 2010

Well, the last week is almost over.  Today we began the last of the three battles.  Optimism was present on all fronts as each side felt that victory was within their grasp.  And so the games began.  Below, the Austrians aggressively attack the weakened Prussians.  On this front, things were fairly equal at the end of the day.

These are the Russian players preparing for their defense.

These are the French players, feeling pretty good after two straight victories.  It turns out that their luck continued to hold in the final game of the week.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Two battles down, one to go

The first round of battles were concluded on day two.  The French were declared winners agains their Austrian opponents while the Russians and Prussians battled to a draw.  The second battles saw the French face off agains the Prussians and the Russians take on the Austrians.  Each team was allowed to select one new brigade to add to their depleted forces and off we went.
This time around we allowed double movement to begin with to allow the two sides to get into the actual fighting faster.  This proved to be a significant factor.  The Russians advanced very rapidly toward their objective.  But this allowed their Austrian adversaries to react in a telling way.  The Russians advanced too far and received a thorough pounding from the deployed Austrians.  The Russian grenadiers were particularly hard hit.  However, the cavalry of the two sides fought to a draw at on end of the table.                                In the other match, the French had tremendous success against the Prussians.  Their cavalry was particularly fierce, destroying two brigades and capturing the Prussian objective almost before the Prussians knew what was happening.  There were some very lucky dice rolls that came at critical time for the French.
Thursday will see the start of the third and final round of games.  The Russians will try to tame the almighty French while the Prussians will try to redeem themselves against the now confident Austrians.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Week Four of VIP

The final week of Camp VIP is under way. This week we are featuring the Seven Years War, powdered whigs and rigid lines of well-trained soldiers in colorful uniforms. This week's format is a bit different. The class of 12 has been divided into four teams of three. They will all play against each other over the course of the week. A win will be worth three points, a draw is worth one and a loss, of course, will be zero points. I am curious to see how this works out, but we are off to a good starts.

The team to the left has the potent Prussian army. It is the smallest contingent, but the best trained.

Here are Russian commanders who are having to take on the Prussians in the first round.

On the second table the Austrians, commanded by these handsome young lads, are taking on the French.

These are the French commanders.

In this shot, the French are making their opening moves.

Here, you can see the first volleys being fired in the Prussia vs. Russia game.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Week three ends

The last two days of our class saw the battle rage intensly. The allied line was stretched almost to the breaking point, even being penetrated at a couple of points. But the polyglot force somehow managed to hold the line. To the right are the British guards. (click on photos to enlarge.

The were some amazing rolls. This wasn't staged! Nic tossed the dice and one of them stood on end.

For two days the French tried to force the
Nassauers out of the Bossau wood, but these soldiers held on stubbornly until the very end of the game.

Here men from Bachleu's division attempt to break through. This division was almost completely used up in the attempt

French cavalry had a field day on the Allied left flank. The entire 3rd division was destroyed by a skillful use of combined arms. The Dutch/Belgian cavalry was no match for the Emperor's horsemen.

This is a shot after a cuirassier regiment caught a Brunswick battery in the flank, but then was caught in the flank by a counter-charge from the Duke's uhlans.

There was lots of action right up until the end of the game. Both sides claimed victory, but it was determined by yours truly that the allies had met their victory conditions by holding on to the crossroads until the end of the game. It had been an extremely costly victory, however. In hindsight, the French could have used their artillery better to soften up the weaker allies.

In the end, however, everyone agreed that it had been a great week and that a good time was had by all. Thanks, gentlemen, for another terrific week!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

week three, day three

Day three is now in the books. Since the last post, the French have continued to push back the Dutch/Belgians, though it has taken much longer than expected. The Dutch/Belgians have been stubborn in their defense. But the picture at right shows the allied cavalry about to be driven back by Lancers of the Imperial Guard.

Half way through the day we set up the second half of the battle. This shot shows the very beginning moves of the second phase. The French are being much more aggressive this time around.

Here is a view of the battlefield from the east. General Picton's fine British brigades can be seen lining the road, screened by the famous 95th Rifles. Things should really heat up when the fighting resumes tomorrow morning.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Napoleonic week begins

Our Napoleonic week is off to a good start. After giving the 14 participants some historical background on the battle of Quatre Bras and an overview of the rules, we were ready to begin. The shot to the left (just click on the pictures to enlarge them) is of the French players surveying their units in preparation of an attack.

This is a shot of the Allied left where the 3rd Division was positioned. A brigade of Hanoverians is holding down the town. In today's action the unit is skirmish formation in front of the town was caught by a regiment of French lancers. At the expense of one casualty the lancers destroyed all 32 men in the battalion!

In the center of the table the French began a slow but steady advance on their Dutch/Belgian counterparts. The allied guns had an abundance of targets and inflicted several casualties. As the skirmish lines closed in on each other the French got the upper hand in this fighting.

The highlight of the day, however, was when the Dutch guns took a shot at a French battery and rolled double sixes. A section of guns was destroyed. Even more alarming was the fact that General de Division Foy's horse was paniced by the exploding caissons and bolted toward the enemy lines where the humiliated general was captured!
The action is sure to pick up tomorrow as the French close with their objectives and try to push them back at the point of their bayonettes.

Friday, July 16, 2010

End of week two

Things came to a conclusion today on my ACW week of Camp VIP. In this second battle the Confederates were to be the attackers. Early on, it seemed that the younger Yankee players might make things easier for the Rebs. They pushed out a brigade into cannon range and lost an entire regiment in a hail of shot and shell. However, this apparently brought the Union command team to their senses and they pretty much handled the Confederates from that point on.
On the Rebel left, the commander there made some progress. His counterpart in the middle did as well. But the Yankees simply fell back to a second line and prepared for the storm. On the Confederate right, waves of gray and butternut swept forward and had mixed success. In the end, though, there were just too many Yankees and the frail rebel regiments began to waste away after three or four turns of firefights and charges. They came close to their objective, but it all came to a screeching halt as two fresh brigades came onto the table and stopped the attack cold.
Again, these were great kids and we all had a terrific time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day three of week two

Our first battle of the week ended today. The picture at left shows the results of one last desperate Union charge to try and sieze the initiative. You will note that there aren't any Union troops in the picture. That's because they either died or ran away. Things didn't go much better elsewhere, thus a resounding victory for the Confederates. After some reorganizing of the table, we moved on to a second battle

This time around, the Yankees would be on the defensive while the men in gray would be attacking. The map at left (click on it to enlarge) shows the opening dispositions and where reinforcements might arrive during the game. The Union side has some troops of questionable character, so they'll have to be careful.

The Confederates got to work quickly sending brigades every which way, apparently trying to concentrate for a major punch to the Union's midsection.

The men in blue were busy trying to stitch together a defense with their limited forces.

The young brigadiers on the Union left got off to a rough start. They aggressively moved forward only to be rebuffed by some harsh Confederate artillery fire. The Union left will have a rough time of it in tomorrow's resumption of the action.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day two, week two

In today's action the situation turned dramatically. Though their line was thin, the Confederates delivered a major whooping on the Yanks. By the end of the day, Meade's division was all but wrecked. Two Union brigadiers were shot out of their saddles and Northern spirits were sagging. Despite some significant reinforcements, the men in blue were not able to gain the upper hand.

The battle will conclude tomorrow, and there is still some fight left in th U.S. forces. Doubleday's entire division has been laying back letting its artillery pound away at the Confederate line. Also, rebel reserves have been siphoned off to other points in the line, so the left flank is pretty much on its own. There is still a chance, though slim, that the Yankees can pull it off. And that's why we play the game.

To the left, Hood's men behind a stone wall find the range and deliver some withering volleys to the Pennsylvania Reserves.

This shot shows just how bloody the fighting was for the Union this day.

Despite the pounding, these Union generals were still in good spirits!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Week two begins

Week two is off to a good start. Eleven of the 12 students arrived, five of whom are returnees, so I have some experience going for me. The contest pits a strong Union force of attackers against a determined group of Confederate defenders. In the pre-game comments I exhorted the Rebs to be defensive. So, of course, they immediately set out to attack the men in blue! This has had some very negative results this far. The picture to the right (click on it to enlarge) shows the Union right flank.

The picture to the left shows an aggressive John B. Hood marching forward to secure the road intersection. We'll see how that works out.

This picture shows the Union left flank. Here the Confederate player is following direction and just trying to hold back the blue masses. He has taken some casualties from artillery fire, but the Yanks have yet to cross the river.

Friday, July 9, 2010

End of Week One

Well, week one of my miniatures class is in the books. It was a terrific group of kids! It appeared that they all had a good time right up to the end. Here are several shots of the second game we played.

This time around there was no question that the Americans were the clear winners. By the end, the British had given up the town and lost control of the bridges that led to their retreat. The battle turned on some unbelievably poor luck on the British side.
The turning point came when the Americans launched an attack. A British regiment protecting the flank of the brigade had to take a moral check and rolled snake-eyes! This left the entire brigade's flank open and resulted in the destruction of the entire defense. And then, just for good measure, on the second to last turn a British general rolled snake-eyes not once, but twice, followed by a three. This saw his entire brigade flee from the table and left no doubt as to who the victors were.

Some discussion between turns.

The American commanders. Well done, lads!

The stoic British generals. I wish adults could show as good sportsmanship as these young men did. They never took the game too seriously which allowed all of us to enjoy it all the more.Thanks for a great week, guys. I hope you'll take my class again next year.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day three

The town is quite adequately defended. This British brigade was given a severe beating by the entrenched Americans!
The lads showed up bright and early to conclude the week's first battle. It was an action fought on two different tables. On table one, the Americans beat back a British attack, routing elite unit after elite unit. "I kept rolling snake-eyes" one of the King's commanders lamented. But on the other table, the King's men did a masterful job of thrashing the rebels attempting to come to the town's relief. At the end, it was decided that the battle had ended in a draw.