6mm Camps and Buildings

A tabletop battlefield can sometimes look better with a bit of relevant clutter on it (especially if kept conveniently out of the way of the action). To that end I’ve been working on some 6mm camp bases that I can use in a number of periods, from Renaissance to the 19th century.

I’m mixing some Baccus metal tents, including their nice command tents, with some simple scratchbuilt ones I made a while ago but am just in the process of re-painting.

Here’s the first batch, Baccus in the background, my own in front. Mine are a bit bigger, but I think they look OK together on the table. They’re just intended to give a sense of the big army camps anyway. To be honest, I think a Baccus miniature would have to remove his over-sized headgear, and possibly even his head, to actually fit inside the smaller tents! 😉


And here’s everything finished:


I have some ideas for how these camps may play a part in certain types of scenario. I’m thinking of things like the night (or even the morning) before some battles in history, like Blenheim for example, where the scouting out of the enemy’s camp formed part of the attacking general’s battle plan.

There may be some scope to have a the defending player set out his camp as a pre-game indication of his army’s dispositions, from which he will have to deploy on the day of battle. Having 2 styles of tent rows, in addition to the command tent bases, will allow for distinction between infantry and cavalry formations. One to try out sometime, perhaps with the SYW project when it hits the table.

I’ve also managed to paint (well, dry-brush really) a couple of Timecast buildings. Here are a rustic railway station and a generic wooden barn (I think it’s from their WW2 Russian range so I tried to cover the drain pipes with foliage to make it less period-specific!)

FPW Campaign Finale – The Battle of Ingwiller (Aka Leipzig)

Saturday’s game was certainly a dramatic final episode to this short but action-packed campaign. Between us Simon and I deployed armies totalling 140,000 troops and fought out an intense but fun battle on Saturday. It was pretty much a whole-day affair which saw lots of action, manoeuvre, traffic jams and carnage.

Simon had reviewed the map and scenario details beforehand, and pondered the numerous options that were available to him. There were victory points to be collected at the numerous objectives, with the French towns representing Leipzig, Mockern and Lindenau as the main prizes. There were also a lot of French troops to get through (whose exact locations were not known to the Germans) and orders of march/arrival to plan. But plan he did, and within a couple of turns hordes of Prussians and Bavarians were flooding onto the battlefield.

The French artillery open up on the first arrivals:


The movement trays may detract a bit from the aesthetics but they’re a necessity when playing with big armies!

There were options for delayed entry for flank attacks on ‘Mockern’ and ‘Lindenau’, and, as French commander, I was unsure of which if any of these would be taken up – so I had to garrison these potentially key locations, and keep reserves in hand, in case some of the uncommitted German formations made an unwelcome appearance.

French marine battalions in Leipzig covering the vital crossings:

Early actions saw Uhlans pushed wide to feel for the enemy left flank, while the French attempted to hurt the Germans before they could deploy from their lines of march, with massed batteries opening up to some effect. One Prussian cavalry division was forced to duck into a handy wood to avoid further damage, but all too soon the lines of Krupp guns were in place and pounded most of the French batteries to destruction.

Battle is joined:

This bought time for the infantry to begin its steamroller advance. Simon had decided to go for the direct approach and throw the bulk of his strength straight at Leipzig. In response I had to hastily draw in my reserves to stem the tide. Most of my cavalry, 2 out of my 3 divisions, were drawn off to the left to prevent the Prussian cavalry from sweeping around my flank and in behind ‘Lieberwolkerwitz’. Over time the cavalry battle on the major hill there changed from being an expensive draw, to enough of a German success to have some influence the final outcome of the battle.

A French cavalry division heads to the flank, supported by its horse batteries:


A second division follows the first, coming under fire from a pesky Prussian horse battery in the village that proved impossible to eradicate.


More pics of the cavalry action – lots of manoeuvre, charges and counter-charges:

I may have become slightly obsessed with that lone battery….


Meanwhile, the Germans tried to sort out the massed congestion in front of Leipzig, the French launched spoiling attacks into their flank to slow them down, and the massed Prussian/Bavarian artillery hunted for French targets to annihilate.

French spoiling attacks:


A little later on – still making life awkward for the Prussians:
French artillery losing another duel with the Prussian guns:

The game clock ticked on and eventually the final unknown was resolved – The Baden/Wurttemberg division arrived on the other side of the river and began to advance on ‘Lindenau’. Here again the French defended tenaciously, holding up the assault in the woods in front of the town. With the last German arrival points now declared, the French drew in every available unit to hold the line, some crossing the river to reinforce Lindenau as the pressure built.

The attack on Lindenau develops in the foreground:

Massed artillery softens up the defences ahead of the final assault:


Brave Chasseurs wiped out as the outer defences fall:

Both sides were taking heavy casualties and generals were falling like nine-pins – including the commander of VII French Corps. Eventually the German infantry came forward to storm the suburbs of Leipzig; Prussians and Bavarians shoulder to shoulder, faced by French sailors, marines and zouaves.

The general scene as the battle reaches its climax (it must be dusk!):

Sneaky Bavarian artillery fires across the river into French reserves in Lindenau (I may have put this idea in Simon’s head – not a smart move):

The first attacks were repulsed with heavy losses, but eventually the pressure across the whole field told and the French army’s morale hit its breaking point, both Corps failing at the same time, and the battle was over. The Germans had achieved a decent haul of victory points, and given more time would have take their main objective and the river crossing, but in the end they had won the battle through hard fighting.

Some French units would get away along the main line of communication from Lindenau, and others would retreat into the Vosges passes, but many thousands would be captured, along with much of the army’s equipment and baggage. The Army of Alsace was destroyed as a fighting force and would not re-join the main Imperial army to the west.

Overall we fought 5 battles in our campaign, and it was excellent from start to finish. Thanks to Simon for getting thoroughly stuck in, hopefully we can have another go in the future, perhaps Italy 1859 next time?


Franco-Prussian War Campaign Finale

A belated Happy New Year to all visitors!

A few months on from when it was originally intended, Simon and I will be fighting the big finish to the FPW campaign this coming Saturday. The table and forces are all prepared and the German commander is devising his no doubt devilish strategy to destroy the French.

This will be the 5th battle and picks up the story from the previous pair of clashes (see Here). We are going to be playing our game based on an historical battle from another period – namely the great 1813 clash at Leipzig. It’s pretty ambitious, yes, but I’ve tried to distil the core of the battle and battlefield into something relevant for the FPW setting (well, there’s a railway), while still retaining the essence of the actual battle.

There will be approximately 3 German corps and 2 French corps fighting it out. The Germans have numbers on their side, the French have some hidden deployment. There are lots of point-scoring objectives which makes it tough for the French to know what to defend and provides a challenge to the Germans to come up with a battle plan that’s more than just ‘kill the enemy’. Although I’m sure there’ll be plenty of that anyway!

Campaign development has led the French (1st and 7th Corps plus cavalry under MacMahon) west to the foot of the Vosges mountains, where they are forced to turn and delay the pursuing enemy (XI and 1st Bavarian Corps, plus a Baden/Wurttemberg division and cavalry) in order to buy time for their remaining forces in the north to avoid becoming cut off. The big clash will come at the town of Ingwiller (representing Leipzig itself) on the river Model. I’ve used Alex’s Leipzig table from the Scarborough refight as inspiration for mine, which is in the form of a mild dogleg totalling 7 feet by 3-4 feet.

Lots more pics to come after the event!

FPW Wurttembergers

I realise that many people (especially those who play solely in the larger figure scales) may not be able to tell the difference between the subject of this post and the previous one, but these are Wurttembergers as opposed to French 🙂

Although I prefer my armies and units to be ‘right’, there’s something nice about 6mm for allowing a bit of ‘fudging’ when it comes to figures, uniforms and flags. A wise man once wrote in a wargames magazine, “at this scale, who cares?” and, while I don’t completely subscribe to that philosophy, it’s something I do fall back on from time to time.

I wanted to add some contingents from other German states to my FPW collection and have decided to create a combined Wurttemberg and Baden division to join the Prussians and Bavarians. These pics are of the first 4 battalions of Wurttembergers, and there’ll be a few more to follow, plus Baden infantry and cavalry, and artillery from both. I’ve done the command bases too as part of this batch.

Of course Heroics & Ros don’t do specific Wurttemberg figures, and I was left with a choice of using figures with kepis (FPW French or ACWs) or… finally using up some packs of Napoleonic Prussian Landwehr I’ve had knocking around for a while. I was originally put off these because the headgear is a bit wrong, as is the equipment and pose – and they’re a bit bigger than the FPW figures. Then I thought, “at this scale, who cares?” and just got stuck in. Similarly with the flags, a shield, a crown and two heraldic beasts became 3 gold blobs and a black blob. I didn’t bother with the blue scroll at all.

All in all, I’ve decided they’ll do. Once they’re on the table they’ll look OK and the games are battle-level affairs so the players’ focus is on command decisions not button counting. That’s my excuse anyway!

More FPW French

Painting output has been a bit slow here lately, with the usual excuses of work and other commitments. However, I have tried to make some progress with my 6mm 19th century collections and have managed to complete a further (and possibly the last, although you never really know do you?) French infantry division.

This one contains some of the more exotic units that I fancied doing. Having already done Zouaves and Algerian Tirailleurs I decided that the Foreign Legion (present in the 1859 Italian campaign) and Marines (present in 1870) would be nice to add too. As my French army will be used in a variety of campaigns I don’t mind the fact that these two troop types weren’t really deployed side by side in either of the major wars.

The division is the 6th one I’ve painted over the years, completing 2 full Corps, and is structured the same as the rest. I use the To the Last Gaiter Button rules from Realtime Wargames, with a few minor modifications to formation structures. The French regiments are represented by 2 battalions instead of the 3 they actually had, to reflect the reduced regimental manpower in the field compared to the Prussians and Austrians. I also omit one of the brigadiers, to re-balance the command and control capabilities in line with the smaller number of wargame units compared to the actual OOB.

All in all, we have the following: 1 Divisional Commander, 1 Brigadier, 4 ‘line’ regiments each of 2 battalions, 1 chasseur battalion, 2 field batteries and 1 mitrailleuse battery. This represents about 9,000 men and 18 guns. This takes the French to about 60,000 in total, which won’t stop them losing on the table, but will help them look more impressive when they do!

All figures are Heroics & Ros as always. All but one of the flags are home-made (and a bit over-sized to look better) with pin and foil as I’d run out of H&R ones. I’ve also started giving some command bases a flag to help them stand out better.

Next up, a composite Wurttemberg and Baden division and 1859 Austrians!

Franco-Prussian War Campaign – Part 2

The action resumed this weekend, with further battles as the German III Army pushed forward on both flanks, keeping up the pressure on the French.

The campaign account continues..

Two battles were fought on this day, at Sturzelbronn and Walburg.
The Battle of Sturzelbronn
On the northern flank the Bavarian II Korps encountered
elements of V Corps at Sturzelbronn in the foothills of the Vosges and
immediately engaged, 3rd Division following 4th Division
into action. The French began the action with their 1st Division
deployed in key positions, being successively reinforced from the south by the
tired but still spirited 2nd and 3rd Divisions who had
fought at Worth 2 days previously. The French 1st Division took
heavy casualties from massed Bavarian batteries and fell back, while both sides’
cavalry divisions were used aggressively, causing considerable disruption to
the enemy. Eventually their losses, coupled with the collapse of their left
flank (and the loss of no less than 3 generals), forced the French to cede the
field to the Bavarians and withdraw toward Bitche, and away from the rest of
MacMahon’s army.
The battlefield near Sturzelbronn, looking east:
The French 1st Division looking fairly frail as they take up their defensive positions. They’ll be casting anxious glances to the right in the hope that the rest of the Corps arrives before the Bavarian hordes do:
Naturally the Bavarians win the race, and they waste no time in forming up for an assault while their artillery masses in the centre:
Despite some stubborn resistance, the French left flank is pushed from the farm complex and the overall position is compromised:
On the other flank Bavarian Cuirassiers pin the arriving French reinforcements with a sudden charge:
Simultaneously the French cavalry had launched an attack of its own over the hill behind the Bavarian flank and chaos ensued for a while. Not standing around to be routed, the French took advantage of the confusion and withdrew to the west.
The Battle of Walburg
Meanwhile to the south MacMahon saw an opportunity to strike
a counter-blow at the over-extended German left flank, but his surprise advance
to Walburg on the Sauer by a now-concentrated 7th Corps met
unexpectedly strong opposition in the form of Prussian V Korps supported by IV
Cavalry Division. In this meeting engagement the Prussians, after careful study
of the ground, executed a very aggressive plan, launching the cavalry forward at
the outset on the left to pin back the French, allowing time and space for a
grand battery to assemble in the centre. Although the cavalry were decimated by
close range fire, the well-placed artillery did likewise to the arriving French
cavalry and reserve artillery in the centre. On the Prussian right the 9th
Division took heavy losses from Chassepot fire while getting into position for
an assault which, late in the day, put enough pressure on the French left to
compound the collapse in the centre and forced a withdrawal from the field. The
French had fought well and retreated in good order towards Hagenau, while the
Prussians were left in no condition to follow up their narrow victory.
As in previous encounter battles, the Germans chose to concentrate their strength to allow their massed batteries and infantry assaults to negate the advantage the French Chassepot would have over a wider front:
With the grand battery already formed and doing severe damage to the French, the IV Cavalry Division erupts from the woods on the flank to buy time for the infantry to assemble:
On the other flank the French fired into the masses as fast as the could, but still they came on. More Prussians attacked from the woods, turning the French position:
Once the cavalry had done its job (at great cost), the other Prussian division formed its own sledgehammer to crack the French right:
General view, as the Prussian commander re-aligns his massed Krupps:
The decisive moment, as the French centre collapses in the face of massed shellfire and the arrival of the Prussian infantry on the hill (despite the latter having taken severe casualties in the process):
Final positions, with too few French left holding the line. Their flanks had held to this point, but a general retreat was ordered when the centre gave way:
The campaign was reaching its climax then. With French losses
mounting and the advancing Germans splitting the Army of Alsace, MacMahon would
be forced to pull back to re-group for what might be a final stand. Although he’d
lost contact with the retreating 5th Corps, which would now come
under the control of the equally beleaguered main army to the west, he still
had 1st and 7th Corps reasonably concentrated and with a
few days’ rest they should be able to put up a decent fight if suitable ground
could be found for a battle. Staff officers hastened west to identify the
Position Magnifique upon which the defence of Alsace would depend.
Crown Prince Frederick William received the reports of the two
battles with some relief, neither action having been sanctioned, or expected,
at the start of the day. His two Corps commanders had acted aggressively however,
and secured victories which gained important positions and served to split the
enemy army. Despite the cost, the campaign was progressing well and, while
orders went out to halt the advance and for the army to re-group, the Prince
gathered his commanders and staff to plan the final act in the battle for
Situation at the end of 6th

The rotated counters denote the formations that fought on the 6th.

We’re looking forward to a grand finale at the next session. 🙂

Franco-Prussian War Campaign

The Franco-Prussian War began today, with some initial map moves and a couple of frontier battles fought in 6mm. Simon is playing the Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, commander of German III Army tasked with crossing the border into Alsace and defeating the French defenders under Marshal MacMahon (me).


Campaign Account
Opening Clashes
1st August
: III Army crossed the border and attacked the French 2nd
Division (of 1st Corps) stationed at Wissembourg. The lead divisions
of Prussian V Korps and Bavarian II Korps pushed forward, the former taking much
heavier casualties than the latter during the battle. The French were
reinforced by 1st Division from the south and by a brigade from 5th
Corps stationed to the west. These arrivals helped to stabilise the collapsing
position of the beleaguered 2nd Division, but only long enough to
allow the inevitable retreat to be conducted with some degree of order. The
German artillery, massed in large batteries, dominated the battlefield and
successive French formations were pulverized on coming into action. The
French withdrew south to Soultz, retreating further when Prussian XI Korps
followed up after the battle.
The Battle of Wissembourg:
The initial French positions, somewhat scattered and with the Bavarians already marching into Wissembourg:
Reinforcements arrive to prop up the French left flank:
On the opposite side of the field, Prussian dragoons form up in the woods to threaten the French right flank..
While massed Prussian battalions storm over the railway line:
French cavalry charge into the flank of the Bavarians as they debouch from Wissembourg, and in a relatively bloodless fight tumble them back again, relieving pressure on the defenders for a few precious minutes:
2nd August:
V Korps remained at Wissembourg for two days to recover, while the much less
molested Bavarian II Korps moved west to Lembach to protect the right flank of
the advancing German army. The Baden Division followed XI Korps, although its
Wurttemberg allies were slow in rousing themselves to cross the border, as was
Bavarian I Korps which was held in reserve due to its relative lack of campaign
readiness at the outset of the war. IV Cavalry Division moved up through
Wissembourg and Soultz to be in place to support the rest of the army’s advance
3rd August:
Other French formations were beginning to converge on the forces retreating from
Wissembourg, the remaining 2 divisions of 1st Corps concentrating at
Hagenau, and elements of 5th Corps coming down from the eastern
slopes of the Vosges towards Sturzelbronn and Reichshoffen. 7th Corps
was beginning to entrain further south nearer Belfort, ordered by Marshal
MacMahon to come north to reinforce the worsening situation. The Baden Division
probed as far as Walburg, with an unidentified French screen withdrawing in
front of them.
4th August:
Taking the lead towards the south west, XI Korps approached Worth, where to the
north of the town they encountered a French force assembled  from 1st Corps’ 3rd
Division and, eventually,  three brigades
from 5th Corps that had moved forward overnight on orders from the
Marshal. In a bend of the river Sauer the close terrain forced the two armies
together into a hard-fought battle. Repeated French spoiling attacks and counter-attacks
delayed and, in places, even pushed back the Prussians whose left flank could
make little headway until events unfolded on the right. Here, the 4th
Cavalry Division came up in the afternoon and pushed past the open French left,
threatening the road west to Reichshoffen.  In the centre a very powerful central
artillery line was established, comprising no less than a dozen batteries which
systematically destroyed the French centre and reserves. With their flank and
rear threatened and the Prussians preparing to renew their assault along the
line, the French used their remaining intact units to cover their retreat and
break off the battle.
The Battle of Worth:
The Prussian XI Korps deployed aggressively and attacked in a well-organised manner. From the outset the French were hard put to protect their lines of communication.
Once again, French cavalry bravely deny the enemy space and time to deploy. Although this was an early sacrifice of much of the cavalry division, by the end of the battle it had brought dividends in terms of the delay it had caused the enemy’s central attack:
The dastardly German commander plots his attack. I can apologise for the sunny, washed out appearance of the photos, but not for the sartorial elegance:
French infantry make a final counter-attack to hold back the enemy, it was just enough to buy time for the retreat:
The Prussian IV Cavalry Division pins down the French left wing and the defenders know it’s time to fall back before they’re cut off:


5th August:
With their stout defence at Worth just sufficient to protect both of their
possible lines of retreat, the French chose to fall back to the west, in the
direction of the main army and to maintain communications with the rest of
France. This had the potential of splitting the Army of Alsace, with the rest
still to the south east and the Germans in a position to exploit their central
position between them.
Positions as of the end of the 5th August, with the rotated counters donating the units which fought the battle near Worth:

Hopefully there’ll be a chance to progress the campaign soon.

More FPW In Progress

Following the 4 player game we had in March, I’ve been intending to get some final additions done for my 6mm French and German forces. These will round things off nicely, and complete the 2 full corps per side that the megalomaniac in me has insisted I must have!

This involves adding a 6th French division, some Bavarian infantry, guns and cavalry, and a few Baden units. Everything continues to be from Heroics and Ros. The French infantry was picked up at Salute, where it was good to see the company represented with a sales stand.

The basing and prepping for the black spray undercoat is always the time-consuming bit, after which the painting seems relatively quick and easy. Most of the work is done now, and I can hopefully start posting some pictures of finished units once I get going properly on the painting.

I’ve also being doing some planning for my planned Austrian 1859 army (which will also consist of 2 corps – eventually). I’ve tried some ‘Mark 2’ basing, which involves magnetic sabots for the unit sub-bases for ease of handling, and if I decide it’s worth it I’ll do the whole army like that when the time comes.

Gaming Weekend Day 1: The Battle of Hoffen 1870

Last weekend I was privileged to take part in, and share the hosting duties for, a 4 player gaming extravaganza that more than lived up to expectations. I was offering massed 6mm on day 1 and Simon provided a large 28mm skirmish game on the 2nd day. Our guests Iain and Andy came from opposite ends of the country to do battle, socialise and exchange banter. We even squeezed in an excellent night out between games.

On Saturday morning everyone picked up a baton and took command of a corps in a Franco-Prussian War battle between 50,000 French and 60,000 Germans. I (as General Douay of VII Corps) assisted Iain (Marshal MacMahon, I Corps) in attempting to hold the important (but slightly fictitious) town of Hoffen, near the border on day 2 of the German invasion. Fighting alongside each other, but with neither in overall command, Simon took the role of Prussian General Kirchbach of V Korps
and Andy was General Von der Tann with the Bavarian I Korps.

The French had a division from each corps already on the table. They had arrived the day before and camped, digging in a little, overnight. The Prussians and Bavarians were marching onto the field from the north, unsure of each other’s position or that of the enemy. Everyone had a number of arrival points for their marching columns and reinforcements. These were pre-determined by the players for new arrivals before each turn and led to some interesting dispositions and confrontations.

The table before the battle:



Unfortunately my usual camera was away from home, so these pictures were taken on my phone. Hopefully they at least convey the gist of how things looked.

In typical wargamer style, not everyone had read the briefing or the introduction to the rules (To the Last Gaiter Button by Realtime Wargames). I set the scene to the uninitiated, and provided lots of coffee to help.. Nevertheless, before too long hordes of horse, foot and guns were trampling over the previously tranquil Alsace countryside and some serious fighting erupted across several miles of front.

I threw my French forward to stop Andy’s Bavarian horde from enveloping Hoffen from the east, and managed to put a dent in his advance, tying up his forward troops and drawing in reserves. Iain and Simon competed to build up the stronger force to the west of the town, using newly arriving formations wherever they could to keep the initiative.

Early moves:


The battle in full flow:


The escalating fight to the west of Hoffen, between the French and Prussians:


My beleaguered French in the village of Seigen which they used as a bastion against the Bavarians (I borrowed these beautifully scratchbuilt buildings, and some of the trees, from a very generous friend):

French cavalry launch a desperate charge, which took the fight out of the Bavarians in the same turn that the Prussians to the west reached a similar state of exhaustion:

It was a close thing though, and a few more turns might have allowed the Germans to capture the town. It wasn’t to be, however, and in the end they had to fall back to await assistance from the rest of 3rd Army before trying again.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the game and got to grips with the rules (which are very different to the norm) pretty quickly. The Germans never really got their artillery superiority into play fully, which was probably down to my hasty pre-game rules briefing which seems to have led to the commanders deploying their guns a little early! Oh well, it was only day 2 of the war and they’d have to learn as they went back in the day too!

The Chassepot did its bit, the Mitrailleuses were unpredictable and quickly targeted, and the Zouaves seemed to fight ferociously when cornered. With the cavalry being used as expendable shock troops (as they sometimes were in the war) the game provided a decent flavour of the period, and especially the command and control challenges experienced by the generals.

For another perspective, a very good write up and lots more pictures visit Andy’s site: Belisarius.org

It was a great day, and we topped it off with a night out in Newark, enjoying beer, curry and some strong spirits to finish. The full English breakfast in the hotel was very welcome in the morning, and got us going ready to tackle whatever Simon had in store for us on the Sunday – part 2 to follow..

It’s Been a While..

February was a pretty hopeless month in hobby terms, too much of everything else got in the way and I don’t seem to have got much done. That said, I’ve not been entirely idle.

Basing up a decent-sized batch of 6mm Franco-Prussian War figures to paint for a big game took quite a bit of time, and wasn’t very photogenic. However, I’ve started to get through the painting now, although the deadline is looming faster than I can wield the brush and a friend has kindly come to the rescue with some stand-ins in case I need them.

I have finished some French batteries and a general, pics below, plus some Bavarian jager and infantry. More artillery tonight, and then on to some further command groups.

I did take a quick picture of some units on a terrain board, to give the visiting players a heads-up on what to expect and to explain some of the keys concepts of the rules I use (Realtime Wargames’ To the Last Gaiter Button)..
After this weekend, with back-to-back 4-player games there will be plenty to post about, so I’ll be sure to take lots of photos.