Sunday, 22 April 2018

First Derby# for 2018: St Albans

In Old York a little boy was walking with his father,
Little Boy: What's that over there Dad?
Dad:  That's Lancashire.
Little Boy:  What's Lancashire?
Dad: Shite!

Meanwhile, in antipodean York, the brave York roo-boys gathered before the little village of Needling Hills (aka St Albans) in which the evil redback tossers from West Dale (aka Lancastrians) were ensconced. They held King Henry VI, recently recovered(?) from madness, whom they had tricked and cajoled to expel the brave and wise Duke of York in favour of the sly Somerset; aka 'the loser of France'.

Not wishing to spill the blood of countrymen, Somerset was summoned to parley. He was made a simple, but generous offer:
Oi, Somerset! 
Give us back our king, resign your post as high chancellor and bugger off.
He replied in the negative.

The Duke of York advanced the right, Salisbury the left, while Warwick held in the centre.

The Yorkist archers took down some of the Lancastrians, who were cowering behind carts and a tumble-down fence.

In preparation for the assault, the men at arms and billmen moved to the front; Warwick's men now also advanced.

Salisbury's (foreground) and the Duke of York's (distance) men attacked the defences held by Clifford and Somerset respectively.

Salisbury's men pushed back Clifford's smaller force (which he had foolishly extended into a single line), but York's men failed in their attack and were themselves pushed back. They gathered for a renewed attack, as Warwick's 'battle' prepared to attack the centre, held by Buckingham.

Salisbury's men pressed their advantage, crossing the ditch and entering the town to rejoin mêlée with Clifford's hard-pressed defenders. York's and Warwick's came to grips with the Lancastrians.

Clifford's 'battle' broke and were pursued by Salisbury's victorious men-at-arms and billmen. "Drive on and secure the King", Salisbury yelled.

They captured Clifford!

Buckingham's and Somerset's troops also began to give ground...

... then, Buckingham was killed, his men fled. Somerset's troops broke too.

A glorious Yorkist victory!

The York (roo) boys broke into song:
Hearts to hearts and hands to hands,
Beneath the rose so white we stand,
We shout, God bless our native land,
Old York. Old York. 
Out we come, out we come, out we come to play,
Just for recreation’s sake, to pass the time away,
Lots of fun, heaps of fun, enjoy yourself today,
The York roo boys are hard to beat when they come out to play. 
So join in the chorus, and sing it one and all,
Join in the chorus, the Yorkists' on the ball,
Good old Yorkists, they're champions you'll agree,
The White Rose is the team that plays to win for you and me.


Thanks to Mark for putting on the game, which he based on an article in a 2010 Miniature Wargames and for umpiring (although, I am beginning to fear that he was dropped on his head as a baby, with his Lancastrian tendencies an' all!!).

Thanks to Julian for 'putting up a bit of a show' and being so good, as ever, about his appalling luck with the dice. In all of the mêlées either I got the random bonus, or the roll was drawn, so that neither side got one!

We used a 'new' set of rules that Mark had brought out from his shelves for a test run earlier in the year. That game, a re-fight of the Battle of Hexham, has not been reported on this blog yet but was, I am pleased to say, another great Yorkist victory!

# Another Derby

This miniature Derby was held a week prior to another first Derby for 2018 that will be played next week, 'down the hill'. That one will feature the Dockers vs the Eagles. It is difficult to think of better symbols for perfidious Albion and Napoleonic France!

Saturday, 21 April 2018

The Great Cavalry Battle: Battle of Liebertwolkwitz, 14th October 1813

Liebertwolkwitz, the largest cavalry action of the Napoleonic Wars—and in European history—was a prelude to the Battle of Nations. Marshal Murat was ordered by Napoleon to delay the Allied forces massing south of Leipzig. Always adherent to regulations, the King of Naples consulted his 'book of orders' and found two options: "attack" or "charge!"

Our game utilised the Fields of Glory scenario with the army lists adjusted to incorporate details from Hofschröer's excellent article about the battle and those that I have gathered for the Battle of Leipzig. We were joined for this game by John from the Serpentine Wargames Group. This time he joined me with the French against Mark with Wittgenstein's Prusso-Russian cavalry, Julian taking the Austrian contingent.

An overall map of the battle (above) and the schematic one from Fields of Glory (below) that we used for the table-top. The Fields of Glory scenario focusses on the section of the battlefield bounded by Wachau in the west, Liebertwolkwitz in the north and east and Güldengossa in the south.

The first of a rolling series of cavalry mêlées which were a feature of the real thing and, naturally, our version. L'Heritier's dragoons v Pahlen III's Prussian cuirassiers, uhlans and dragoons and Russian hussars (also lance-armed in a charge).

 Even mêlées come down to the dice rolls. John was in-form; Mark was not.

The French had more troops for the first three turns; I brought up Subervie's light cavalry on L'Heritier's left flank.

Sakomelsky's combined ulan division and von Röder's cuirassiers reinforced Pahlen III's troopers.

von Mohr's Austrian cavalry arrive to the south-east of the on-going and increasing cavalry mêlée.
 Hohenlohe-Bartenstein's Austrian infantry move to attack Liebertwolkwitz.

Mark saved his best dice for Subervie's light cavalry. After a protracted encounter, the 3e hussars were broken.
(It is little-known that Napoleon enlisted many men from previous French colonies of the West Indies to the new grande armée in 1813—either that or there was once again a gap between my painting plans and completed output).
The 13e hussars faired slightly better, retreating from a lost mêlée against Sakomensky's uhlans.
Another 'Julian manoeuvre'? von Mohr's Austrian light cavalry do a left-turn.

Hohenlohe-Bartenstein sent his lead battalions against Maison's infantry in Liebertwolkwitz; their attack blunted by defensive fire from the French infantry.

"That may be; that may be, but we will match them with our lancers."
I received a bit more 'grunt', c/- Berkheim's recently arrived lancers. 

Above: L'Heritier's dragoons continued on their winning way, now reinforced by Milhaud's dragoons (below).

 The French dragoons and lancers continued to get the better of the mêlées...

...unlike Subervie's light cavalry, which were putting up a good struggle, but coming off second best each time.

The French attack was somewhat stalled as Milhaud's dragoons and Berkheim's lancers got themselves inter-mixed.

 "Here comes the cavalry!" von Mohr's Austrians "coming round the bend..."

 "The great cavalry battle" continued...

 ... and seemed to have been won!

Pahlen III's, Sakomelsky's and von Röder's troopers defeated, it was up to von Mohr's Austrian light cavalry with Desfours' newly arrived cuirassiers and chevau-légers to try to defeat the now weakened French squadrons.

 Maison's infantry continued to hold on to five-sixths of Liebertwolkwitz.

 Murat found another order in his book; 'attack'!

Wittengstein was beginning to feel a bit lonely on the hill and wondered about retiring south to the Schlöss Güldengossa.

Mark 'officially' had the worst luck of all four players; by a Russian versta.
The final straw was the attack of one of his uhlan regiments against my French lancers (who were blown). He threw a '1' to my '6', which lost the combat, the cavalry unit and broke the division!

 Somewhat belatedly, Hohenlohe-Bartenstein intensified the attack on Liebertwolkwitz.

Some success, but the French still held out in four of the six sectors (three or more needed to be captured by the Austrians as a victory condition).

Meanwhile, the French cavalry continued largely on its winning ways,
 ...the Kaiser cuirassiers had some success, but ran out of 'puff'.

Turn 12 reached and game over.

The French had by far the better of the luck and, particularly early, so were able to maintain superior numbers in and after the cavalry mêlées.

The infantry too 'did well', holding Liebertwolkwitz. The modifiers are in the favour of the defenders when attacking towns, but excellent dice rolling for defensive volleys helped immensely!


The French lost only Subervie's light cavalry division and still held 2/3rds of Liebertwolkwitz, while the Allies had lost four cavalry divisions. so it was a clear French victory.

Great to have John join us again, the first time with Julian. Even better that he brought his good luck to my side and gave me a bit of it too! :)


Hofschröer, P (1986). The Great Cavalry Battle of Liebertwolkwitz (14th October, 1813). Miniature Wargames 38 (July 1986).

Hofschröer, P (1986). The Battle of Liebertwolkwitz Part II The Campaign So Far. Miniature Wargames 39 (August 1986).

Hofschröer, P (1986). The Great Cavalry Battle of Liebertwolkwitz (14th October, 1813) Part IIb Orders of Battle & Dispositions. Miniature Wargames 40 (September 1986).

Hofschröer, P (1986). The Great Cavalry Battle of Liebertwolkwitz (14th October, 1813) Part III. Miniature Wargames 42 (November 1986).

Leach, C and Conliffe, A (1997) Liebertwolkwitz, 1813. In Fields of Glory: Historical Scenarios for Corps Sized Napoleonic Battles in Miniature. Quantum Printing, New York, NY. 35 pp. 26–27.