Thursday, July 29, 2010

July activity

Where does the month go? I've been busy with much 'real life' stuff, plus when I have been able to progress with the Muckenmire Campaign, it doesn't immediately generate any action - curses on this muddy weather, slashing everybody's movement! Still, even with this delay I believe a big battle could be soon approaching, as Elector Von Luftberg himself has arrived with his army of reinforcements.

More generally in the hobby, I have been listening to the excellent 'Meeples & Miniatures' podcasts, which I would recommend to anybody with iTunes and (like me) has a long-ish commute each day to and from work. They basically just ramble on over any topic that takes their fancy on wargaming, and the result tends to be very entertaining. A recent discussion was on the board game 'Commands & Colours: Ancients' which I haven't played in ages. There was discussion of period variants, plus the way that numerous gamers had converted the game from a card board and wooden counters into effectively a quick-play wargame with miniatures. My interest has been tweaked - I may have a root around for a SYW-version I can use my miniatures with. The ability to fight a decent wargame-like battle on a limited-size board and complete it in 60-90 minutes would be a nice 'filler' game, so we shall see!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Highway Robbery!

Taking up the action just south of Veldhuizburg, I laid out a large map area for just two cavalry units a side to fight out a large-scale skirmish on - the Luftberg cavalry of one Dragoon and one Hussar regiment making their escape south down a road, while the Aschenbach cavalry of one Cuirassier and one Hussar regiment dash to stop them.

The Luftberg cavalry crosses the Schelve and heads south down the road (bases turned sideways as they're in column.)

Oncoming Aschenbach cavalry races in from the east (partially obscured by the mist. Some would say the camera didn't focus, but what would they know?)

The Aschenbach cavalry moves fast, and manages to cut the road in front of the Luftberg column, just next to a small cornfield.

Luftberg hurriedly deploys, and the Dragoon regiment steps sideways onto a little rise of ground nearby.

The Hussars and Cuirassiers clash, with the heavier troopers winning and the Hussars falling back.

The opportunistic Dragoons charge down onto the flank of the tired Curiassiers and send them reeling back in disorder through the crops. A stand-off ensues, with each side rallying as best as they're able. Luftberg eventually moves it's Hussars off southwards, behind the Dragoons.

This leads the mobile Aschenbach Cuirassiers to swing round the revealed flank and hit the Dragoons again - it breaks them, sending the broken remains fleeing south.

And with that, the fight is over! Luftberg's cavalry slip the noose and escape being penned up in the siege, but in doing so their Dragoon regiment has been routed by the enemy. Plaudits all round! I'd recommend trying this as a quick skirmish battle - I actually used a playing area large enough for both my entire armies, so moves had to be carefully thought through to prevent the four units I actually used just slipping past each other. The Black Powder rules also worked very nicely, with lots of flanking and reforming: just what you'd expect from a cavalry battle.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Cavalry Trap

The action converges on Veldhuizburg now, as autumn draws on and a crossing over the Schelve becomes the principal prize for Aschenbach arms. Bitzhelm is well prepared for defence, with one of his remaining Infantry battalions in the works for defence, while his still-numerous cavalry (which never really got into action at Dolderburg) are also close at hand in the surrounding countryside.

The Aschenbach General Grenwitz has approached south on the Dolderburg road, and has commenced siegeworks with camps, parallels, etc. However, on his own he lacks the numerical strength necessary to properly seal up the town, and so his ineffective works can only screen the eastern approaches. In the west the land is still open and teeming with squadrons of the rival cavalry, who spend days in running skirmishes - Aschenbach trying to contain the besieged
close in to the works, while Luftberg tries to constantly break through the cordon and raid out on the supplies trundling down the Dolderburg road to Grenwitz's troops.

Miserable stuff for the besiegers, being thwarted like this. Von Krumper's approach gives cause for hope, however. He'll bring the numbers needed to clamp the western areas shut and
allow the siege proper to begin. However, Veldhuizburg - with it's back to the Schelve - is still not quite trapped thanks to the bridge Southwards. As Bitzhelm's Infantry fill the Garrison to capacity, the Cavalry will simply pull out southwards over the river. Grenwitz has plenty of time to ponder all this, at great length, and devises a suitably inventive plan.

He writes to Krumper, explaining the problem and suggests the following: As Krumper approaches to within a few miles of the scene, he sends his pontoons southwest to the Schelve and gets his Cavalry across, with orders to cut the Road and bottle up Veldhuizburg from the south. This way the garrison will be overloaded with useless Horsemen when Krumper's troops finally lock down the siege with a full investment - which will probably result in Veldhuizburg's rapid fall through starvation through the excessive pressure on the supplies.

Krumper decides to risk it - a cavalry-heavy fight beckons, as once his pioneers are spotted at work the Luftberg cavalry will struggle to disengage in the fields west of Veldhuizburg, fall back through the town, and then escape down the South road. Failure will probably doom Bitzhelm's whole force to siege & surrender, while failure risks a prolonged siege against a small rearguard which could well bring disaster if Aschenbach tries to persist with it through the rapidly oncoming winter.