Bigger Fields

Following on from my 6mm fields, I’ve upscaled and added some for 28mm. These take the standard wargamer route; chopped up doormat material. I found a helpful ebay shop that sells it by length (50cm wide), so I simply ordered 1 metre, dontated 80cms of it for a new front door mat and used the rest for these fields.

Very little of the rubber bases show, so I just painted them brown to blend in with the terrain boards. I cut the pieces into smaller sections for flexibility and for removal of part of a larger combined field when figures need to be placed inside. I only needed a small amount, so all in all, not bad for a couple of quid (the rest of the mat was about £10).

6mm Fields

There’s something nice about making wargame terrain and scenery that isn’t going to warp in the future – so working with neoprene sheet has been a revelation for me. My first efforts focused on some islands for naval games (more on that soon) but recently I decided it would be good to make some textured fields for 6mm games.

My test pieces were cut out of 1.5mm thick neoprene (a few quid for a square metre off ebay) and textured with my usual combination of Sandtex masonry paint and builders’ sand. I then reduced the production time for the second batch by texturing and painting a larger sheet (about a foot square) and then cutting it up and texturing the edges.

As long as I don’t try too hard to crack the textured surface, the end result is robust and flexible. I know some people have had great success with caulk as the coating layer, which I think provides a greater level of flex, but as I’m not intending to roll these pieces up the paint is proving sufficient.

I used a relatively limited pallet for the field colours, focusing on a wheatfield or recently-cropped look. I decided to edge the fields in green to match and blend in better with the terrain boards.

I am also making some field edges – mostly strips and corners of rough hedges and trees – to put around some of the fields. Keeping them separate makes for easier storage, as the fields can simply be stacked together.

I had been considering making some terrain boards with 6mm fields painted on, but these place-down fields have given me a more flexible (haha) solution. I aim to get these on the table for the next Rhine War battle in the coming weeks.

The Rhine War of 1855 – The Battle of Sigmaringen Part 2

Following on from the previous post…

Without the customary Austrian dithering, General von Blomberg went straight into the attack, ordering his lead battalions to form up for an immediate assault on the French position.

Formed up for the attack, with cavalry support on the flank

With only a shallow stream to cross, the cavalry peeled off to the left to find a way to outflank the French.

Confident his initial attack would clear the way, the Austrian General was happy to allow a bit of a traffic jam to build up.
The French Colonel’s call for help elicited a surprisingly quick response from the rest of the Brigade, which came at the double along the waterway

As their attack on the inn was about to start, the Austrians were alarmed to see a French regiment approaching at speed along the other side of the stream. Fortunately the reserve battalions were still in column and were able to be quickly diverted onto the high ground overlooking the waterway, and the newly arrived enemy.

Austrian units are sent to the right to counter the new French arrivals
The Austrians storm the inn and the bridge, but the outnumbered French refuse to budge
The French reinforcements deploy and exchange fire with the Austrians on the other side of the stream, causing early casualties
General view, with the Austrian cavalry over over to the right having crossed downstream

The Austrian attackers stubbornly ground forward, and after half an hour of fierce fighting they ejected the French from their original position.

The French are thrown out of the inn in disarray

The 2nd French regiment pulled back to maintain contact with the retreating units and, believing this was their moment, the Austrians pursued off the hill and across the stream. It was a rash move, and brought them under intense fire from two sides. Having suffered heavy losses, they were ordered to withdraw and were a sorry looking lot when they finally made it back to the high ground.

Riddled by musketry and artillery fire, the Austrian right flank is about to withdraw

Elsewhere the French had received further reinforcements in the form of another brigade of infantry, and one of cavalry. The infantry shored up the line and counter-attacked at the inn, only to be eventually repulsed. The cavalry were charged by their Austrian counterparts and honours were largely even in this melee – until the French brigadier was killed, causing disruption and a command vacuum on this flank.

The French counter-attack with fresh troops, but make little headway
Losses mount as the cavalry come to blows. The French commander is about to be cut down

From his vantage point, Von Blomberg took stock of the situation. Although victory appeared close, with the sudden the loss of one of his brigadiers, heavy casualties to his infantry, and his cavalry out of position, he realised that he could not risk prolonging the battle. The bridgehead across the stream was isolated, so he reluctantly he gave the order to withdraw. The relieved French gladly let them go. Both sides would need time to recover and their commanders were soon to be writing hasty dispatches to headquarters asking for orders and reinforcements.

The Austrian invasion in the south was halted, for now.

Final view, with the Austrians about to give up their hard-won ground

The Rhine War of 1855 – The Battle of Sigmaringen

With drums beating and much fanfare the Austrians finally marched into the war. Baron von Blomberg’s Division had set off from Ravensburg 2 days earlier and, after crossing the Danube at Blochingen, his cavalry patrols reported French troops covering a river crossing just short of Sigmaringen.

Stand to!

The French were a regiment and one battery from General Epinasse’s 1st Division of I Corps, which had been ordered to guard a bridge on one of the Danube’s tributaries. Sensibly, the French were bivouacked around the inn conveniently situated beside the bridge, and their officers had been enjoying a most comfortable stay while their men camped outside.

The French at the Inn see the Austrian column bearing down on them

Alerted by the sighting of the Austrian scouts the Colonel assembled his men and messengers were sent to the rear and along the river in both directions, calling for reinforcements. Before any help arrived, the first Austrian infantry could be seen marching down the road towards the bridge…

The view from the other side – just a few French to brush past

Seven Years War Austrians

I’ve had a short break from the War of 1855 campaign – it’s been a bit hot and I’ve been a bit busy. However, the terrain from the last game was still on the table and I thought it might look good for some pics of another army.

These are some of my Austrian SYW (and WAS of course) 6mm army. I’ve deployed 20 battalions of regulars and 4 of Grenzers, plus 3 batteries of artillery and commanders. This represents half the target size for the army, which is about 70% done. There’s also the cavalry, which I didn’t set out, of which I’ve done 20 of the intended 32 units.

It’s been a few years in the making, but it’s getting there. The Prussians have recently overtaken them in terms of completed numbers, so I’ll aim to post some pics of them sometime.

The Rhine War of 1855 – The Empire Arrives

Well, a bit of it anyway.

With the Prussians and Bavarians sent tumbling back by a resilient defence in the north and east, it was the turn of the Austrians to make their own isolated and unsupported attack. On 9th July the commander of 1st Korps’ 1st Division, Baron von Blomberg, was ordered to cross the border and scout for the enemy around Sigmaringen. The rest of the formation would be assembling behind them and would follow as soon as possible.

Taking the Korps Cavalry brigade with him he left Ravensburg and crossed the Danube, seeing no sign of any enemy activity. Perhaps Wurttemberg had no troops left to watch their southern border due to all the fighting to the north?

The Rhine War of 1855 – The Battle of Auenwald

Following on from the pre-amble in the last post… with the two armies approaching in column of march, the allies from the south and the Prussians from the north, a head-on clash was inevitable.

The battlefield from the south, with the road going through Auenwald and off into the hills
The view from the north. Not particularly good artillery or cavalry country.
Auenwald viewed from the east

Orders of march were established and the first turn saw each side’s lead infantry brigade appear, heading for the town.

Note on rules: As each turn starts, a roll is made for formations due to arrive that turn. On a 2-5 they arrive on time, on a 6 they arrive and get a bonus move (as though they’d arrived earlier than expected), and on a 1 they don’t turn up. They can roll again next turn, but of course it means that plans may be delayed – and of course all formations behind them on the same road are also held up. In this game there were a few 1s rolled, the first being the 2nd Prussian brigade, which left the first arrivals somewhat isolated at the start of the battle.

The French reached the town first, and struck out beyond it to hold the Prussians back. The Prussians deployed and launched an immediate attack, resulting in a fierce fight for the small hill just outside the town.
With little open ground available, the initial clash was direct and bloody.
The Prussian Divisional commander’s view

As the battle developed, both sides were anxious for their reinforcements to reach the field. Unfortunately for the allies, the British brigade managed to roll 1 on two consecutive turns and arrived an hour late – resulting in cries of “Perfidious Albion!” from the embattled French!

Maybe they’d stopped for a cuppa on the way.

The difficult terrain presented deployment challenges to both sides, with hills and woods pretty much in all directions as soon as you left the road. Nevertheless, it was possible for fresh troops to make progress and by early afternoon the battle had extended 1-2 km to either flank.

Seeing an opportunity to pin back the allied left flank, the Prussian commander unleashed a cavalry charge down the valley alongside the road. Preceded by horse artillery to draw the enemy’s fire, 4 regiments were ordered to attack the French guns deployed on the low rise to the west of the town. Only 3 managed to assemble in time, the slopes beside the road impeding the cuirassiers’ attempts to form up. Dashing along the valley floor and past their own guns, the Prussian uhlans reached their objective and a desperate struggle took place around the cannon. Both sides showed great courage and stayed in the fight despite growing losses.

Uhlans set off, the cuirassiers aren’t able to keep up.
Despite arriving almost intact, the charge failed to sweep away the French batteries, which were soon to receive some very welcome support...
The Highlanders formed up as soon as the British (finally) arrived on the field. Their task was to rescue the French artillery in front of them.

The late-arriving British shook themselves out into fighting formation with admirable speed, and went in with the bayonet. Despite putting up a tough fight, the uhlans were sent packing and the gun line was secured. There was barely enough time to catch their breath before the doughty highlanders came under heavy artillery and infantry fire as the Prussians brought up more troops. Under a rain of fire and, towards the end of the battle, a final Prussian infantry assault, the British losses mounted but they held their ground. The left flank was secure.

The final Prussian attack on the British hill.
The Prussian Korps reserve artillery arrives late in the day.

Across the field brigades of cavalry stood back in reserve while each side’s infantry tried to gain some advantage among the fields and woods. In the end, despite some successes, the Prussians failed to dislodge the French and Wurttemberg troops. Their Divisional commander was killed leading an uphill charge and his men’s morale faltered. In the centre, the 1st Prussian Division, engaged since the start, eventually crumbled and was driven back the way they’d come, covered by the reserve artillery. Prince Karl ordered a general withdrawal back into the hills.

The Prussian attempt to turn the allied right flank. Doomed to eventual failure.

The allies had won an important victory, their second in 3 days, and a fitting reward for their hard marching. The Prussians would have to think again, both Korps now having recoiled from their attempted invasions. Both armies now had some time to re-group and prepare for the next stage of the campaign.

A few final pics:

The allies mass in and around Auenwald, determined to hold the town and block the way south.
View from behind the allied left flank.
General view of the other flank.
Final stages of the battle.
Depleted Prussian units begin to pile up to the rear.

The Rhine War of 1855 – Prelude to the Battle of Auenwald

Following their hard-won victory at Weinstadt, the allies under Marshal Canrobert received some unwelcome news. While the Prussian’s 1st Korps was still re-fitting at Frankfurt, their recently assembled 2nd Korps had left Wurzburg, crossed the River Maine, and was marching for the Wurttemberg capital, Stuttgart.

Leaving a British brigade behind to watch the retreating Bavarians, Canrobert ordered his army to about-face and move to intercept the Prussians before they reached their objective. He had the advantage of operating on internal lines, which was all well and good as long as his troops could stand the pace.

By the morning of the 8th July the allies were on the road north from Stuttgart, aiming to confront the Prussians as they descended from the hills south of Swabisch Hall. Canrobert would have preferred to have his entire Corps with him but news that the Austrians were finally beginning to stir from Lindau forced him to maintain a strong watch on the Danube.

On the Prussian side Prince Karl, commanding 2nd Korps, had been surprised to cross into Wurttemberg without meeting any opposition. Fearing a trap, and not being a particularly bold or dashing leader, he had moved somewhat cautiously south and was running about a day behind schedule. Would this delay prove to be a missed opportunity?

On the morning of the 8th, his advanced guard reported Wurttemberg cavalry patrols at Auenwald, a small town along the route he’d chosen for the final stage of his march to Stuttgart. Suddenly anxious to avoid being trapped in the passes, he ordered his men forward to capture the town…

The Rhine War of 1855 – The Battle of Weinstadt, part 2

The battle was heading into its final stages and, with heavy attrition around Weinstadt, it appeared to be turning into a race between the British landing their blow from the flank, and the Bavarian reserve cavalry arriving in time to intervene.

Fighting continues around Weinstadt, the village itself remaining relatively untroubled
Losses mount up among the attackers
Fighting intensifies for the road junction

The first of the British to appear on the south side of the river were the Rifles, who led the way over the bridge. Although they were forced to retire after taking canister fire from enemy artillery, they had successfully cleared a path for the following battalions.

The Rifles cross the bridge and engage the defending Bavarian horse battery

To the east, the Bavarian cavalry reserve was just coming onto the field, cantering forward to try to turn the tide.

To the relief of the Bavarian commander, his cavalry division finally arrives
The British infantry have crossed the bridge and form up for a flank attack
The redcoats charge! It’s too much for the Bavarians who give way
Too late, the Bavarian cavalry reach the action. Their main role will be to act as rearguard to cover the retreat of the Corps

On the other flank the French had launched several assaults on the south side of Weinstadt’s hill, being thrown back each time. Finally, a combined arms attack from two sides overcame the defenders who were forced to retreat through the streets and down through the camp below the town.

French cuirassiers prepare to charge again, supported by infantry
The battlefield at the point the Bavarians’ moral crumbled

So, the Battle of Weinstadt was a victory for the allies, who had managed to shore up the eastern approaches to Stuttgart before the full weight of the enemy could combine against them. The Bavarians, having now fought 2 battles, had been sent packing and would need some time to recover.

The Rhine War of 1855 – The Battle of Weinstadt

Following the Bavarian victory in the opening battle at Schorndorf, the allies feared that they would be hotly pursued back to the Wurttemberg capital, Stuttgart. However, to their surprise (and relief) they were left in peace to rally by a complacent enemy who clearly felt they’d done enough.

Campaign Map, with an Allied army coming together to confront the Bavarians.

After his impetuous start to the campaign, the Bavarian King had decided it was time for his allies to do some fighting, and he ordered his army to enjoy the fruits of their labour in enemy territory. With the Austrians still far off (their advanced guard was believed to have made it as far as Lindau at best) the Bavarian army only moved forward a few miles to Weinstadt where they settled down to forage and make good their losses from the recent battle.

The field of battle viewed from the west, with Weinstadt and the Bavarian camp top-right and the river and bridge on the left.
The reverse angle.
Reveille, and unwelcome news from the pickets.

However, far from being beaten the Wurttemberg-British force was about to be reinforced. Marshal Canrobert, commander of the French I Corps, had heard the news of his compatriots in II Corps’ saving the day at Sprendlingen and was determined to have his share of the glory. He’d dispatched his 1st Division and Cavalry Division south toward Sigmaringen and the Austrian border as flanking cover, and had himself taken 2nd Division via Stuttgart (where, most gratifyingly, the French were met with great appreciation and applause) so as to join up with the Wurttembergers a little to the east.

After a brief council of war, where the allies (even the British) agreed to Canrobert taking command, it was decided that a counter attack was in order. Striking camp at dawn on the 5th July, the combined force marched east. It was decided that the British contingent would be on the left, on the other side of the river, so as to make a flank attack while the French and Wurttemberg Divisions attacked the Bavarians frontally. Conveniently, this meant that the British would be operating somewhat independently, which overcame any underlying reluctance to take instruction from their old enemy. A 3-way alliance, with old adversaries working together within a complicated tactical plan. It was sure to succeed.

The British contingent make their way unseen along the northern river bank.
The British objective, lightly guarded by just a cavalry brigade.

By late morning the Wurttemberg advanced guard had gotten to within a mile of Weinstadt before encountering and driving in the slack Bavarian picket line. Shaken from their rest period, the Bavarians prepared for battle. A jager battalion was sent forward to delay the enemy while the 3 infantry brigades and Korps artillery reserve began to assemble.

By the time they’d formed up in and of either side of Weinstadt the leading Wurttemberg and French brigades had deployed from march column and were ready to attack.

The attack begins. Wurttembergers on the left, French on the right.
Infantry assault, straight up the road.
Their arrival slightly delayed, the French 2nd Brigade hastens to catch up.
Firefight between opposing infantry.
The British rifles are the first to reach the bridge. With their brigadier elsewhere, the hesitant Bavarian Chevaulegers are about to be driven off by accurate fire.
… and there they go!

The main attacks went in, and casualties soon mounted up on both sides. Numerous artillery batteries added to the carnage.

The Bavarian commander had sent orders to his absent (but nearby) brigades (1 each of infantry and cavalry) and he hoped they were on their way. The British left hook was taking time to develop despite the light opposition, and the allies needed their attacks to pin the Bavarians in time for its arrival. The battle was therefore finely balanced.

Part 2 to follow…