Monday, 11 April 2016

Bloody Big Battles Bash Day 2016

I had the pleasure of playing Bloody Big Battles all day long on Sunday 10th April 2016 at Wolvercote village Hall near Oxford. The day was organised by the Chris Pringle, author of BBB, and The Oxford Wargames Society

There was a excellent selection of battles on offer

  • Balaclava, Crimean War 1854
  • Montebello, Second Italian War of Independence 1859
  • Solferino, Second Italian War of Independence 1859
  • Bull Run, American Civil War 1861
  • Wilderness, American Civil War 1864
  • Dybbol & Als,  Second Schleswig War 1864
  • Langensalza, Austro-Prussian War 1866
  • Koniggratz, Austro-Prussian War 1866
  • Loire campaign, Franco-Prussian War 1870-1871 
  • Laing’s Nek, First Boer War 1881
  • First El Teb, British Sudan Campaign 1884

I took a load of photos but, no doubt due to my excitement at playing BBB, most suffered from "Shaky Hand" so I apologise if some of the  tables aren't shown

First some of the tables either read for action or being setup

Dybbol & Als,  Second Schleswig War 1864
First El Teb, British Sudan Campaign 1884
I think this is the Loire campaign, Franco-Prussian War 1870-1871 - I really should have taken notes
Laing’s Nek, First Boer War 1881

In my first game, Balaclava, I took the part of the Russians against Maurice's British, French and Turks. This is an excellent scenario by Malcolm McDowall that gives both sides plenty of options and with only 6 turns means you can't hang around
The Russian army at game start - the figures are 2mm Irregular Miniatures which look very effective.
At the top of the photo are the French positions and beneath Maurice's hand are the British Heavy and Light Brigades
The Russians storm the Causeway Heights as the British move up the Heavy and Light Brigades and the 93rd to counter the attack
The French view of the battle
After destroying the Light Brigade and the 93rd the Russians advance towards Balaclava. Meanwhile the British Heavy Brigade charges along the Causeway heights destroying anything in their path
The positions at the end of the game. The Russians are threatening Balaclava but the British Royal Marines save the day for the Allies by recapturing the hill north of Kadikoi. 

The game is therefore declared a draw. Once again it's a great scenario to play with plenty of options for both sides. I'm now looking at investing in this period - 2mm is way too small for my eyesight - so maybe in 6mm but probably 10mm 

Meanwhile on some of the other tables...

A couple of shots from First El Teb, British Sudan Campaign 1884. A lovely looking game played in 6mm. This one is on my todo list.

Solferino, Second Italian War of Independence 1859
One of the battles from the Loire campaign, Franco-Prussian War 1870-1871

For my second game I had been lined up to play the Prussian left flank at Koniggratz, Austro-Prussian War 1866. I had studied the forces and the map and had formulated a plan to overrun the Austrians on our left flank.

Imagine my surprise therefore when I suddenly found myself in charge of the Prussian right flank!
My Prussians didn't hang about and got straight into the attack against the Saxons. To my cost I found that this was a big mistake as my Divisions were shot to bits by the Saxons.
The Observation Balloon's view of the Austrian lines early in the battle
Prussians commanded by Chris apply pressure to the Austrian centre and right wing.
The Prussian 2nd Army arrives on the Austrian right wing.
I finally get my act together after getting 2nd Corps destroyed and prepare to assault the Saxons
The Prussian centre pushes into the Austrian centre / right flank dogleg
The Prussian 2nd Army prepares to engage the Austrian right wing
The Saxon Corps sits firmly in it's rifle pits
The Prussians push into the Austrian centre
Another failed Prussian assault against the Saxons

The Austrian left flank
The Austrian right flank
Finally I push the Saxons out of their trenches. If I can capture the village occupied by the Austrian cavalry the day is ours!
End of turn 9 and the battle is over. I failed to get the village so once again a draw.

Another excellent game this time put on by Haim and Simon. Great looking terrain and armies. If only I had had a plan at the start. I thought the Saxons would be as flaky as the Austrians and would be a walkover. Instead they probably saved the day for the Austrians.

Thanks to all for an excellent day's gaming - I look forward to the next BBB Bash

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Solferino - Medole 1859 using Bloody Big Battles

I have wanted to do the battle of Solferino for sometime but never had suitable rules or enough figures. With the Bloody Big Battles (BBB) rules  and the scenario book Blood Big European Battles I finally had the opportunity to play it - well most of it.

Solferino was the biggest and final battle of the 1859 Second Italian War of Independence fought by the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia against the Austrian Empire. See Wiki for more details
The BBB scenario covers the whole battle on an 8x4 foot table. The Sardinian army against Austrian VIII Corps around San Martino in the north,  Austrian 1st Army against French 4th Corps at Medole in the south and French 1st, 2nd & 3rd Corps plus the Imperial Guard against  Austrian 2nd Army in the centre at Solferino.

As I don't have any Sardinians (yet) I decided to fight the centre and southern part of the battle, the French vs Austrians bit. The scenario map has the River Redone as impassible for most of it's length which splits the battlefield quite nicely into almost 6x4 feet. Hence the title Solferino-Medole.

Solferino is that rare example of a real life encounter battle so most troops start off the table.

Shaun and Steve took the French forces whilst Andy, Mike and Dave took the Austrians. I umpired.
Looking south at the start of the game. Austrian troops are deployed in Castello and in front of Guidizzolo whilst French troops form up before Barche di Castigilione
The battlefield looking north. The objectives are Guidizzolo, Castello and Cavriana
Austrian IX Korps advance past Guidizzolo
Austrian V Korps deployed in Castello
French 1st Corps before Barche di Castiglione
The French advance toward Castello and the Austrians advance to meet them
French 1st & 2nd Corps assault Barche and le Grole 
The first of many useless cavalry charges.
The Austrian 1st Army forms a defensive line on Quagliara and Rebecco
French 4th Corps advances to Medole
Fighting continues in front of Castello 
French 4th Corps faces a solid Austrian line
The Imperial Guard Grenadier division supports 1st Corps
Austrian 2nd Army receives reinforcements
Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard in action
French 3rd & 4th Corps prepare to assault Austrian 1st Army
Halfway through the game from the Austrian side - looking good
Halfway through the game from the French side - looking like a polo mint
The French take Castello but get bogged down  trying to pass it
French 4th Corps assaults Austrian 1st Army and fails
Final Position - French hold Castello
Final Position - Austrians hold Cavriana
Final Position - Austrians hold Guidizzolo

At the end of the French turn 8 they conceded the game. Two of the objectives, Guidizzolo and Cavriana, were still in Austrian hands and the French hold on Castello was starting to look dodgy with Austrian 2nd Army about to go on the offensive. In Austrian terms it was a glorious victory. 

Before the game I would have put money on the French, all Veterans, stomping over the Austrians, all passive and mainly  Raw and Fragile. However the Austrians managed to get their armies into a solid defensive formation with an excellent gun line and hold off most if not quite all French assaults.

The Imperial Guard did not live up to their image - getting bounced by one of the better Austrian units and then failing to become un-disordered. Again barely any casualties on either side although it was starting to tell on the Austrian units that were raw, passive and fragile as they become spent after losing 1 base.

An excellent scenario that can be played again and again (and will be because I want to play next time). I need to paint more Austrians and get the Sardinians together so we can do the whole battle. 

Game Info

The rules can be purchased from Caliver Books
There is a Yahoo group for the rules here where the author answers queries
The 10mm Figures are all Pendraken
The 6mm Buildings are mainly by TimeCast