Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Talavera 2 - Part Two

On they come in the same old way.  Driven half mad by singing Frenchmen the RHA go to work on Level's Division...and not a Frenchman between them...
" somebody take out the baritone!"
The Spanish watch the gunners sweat and chomp at the bit to kill the invaders
 Meanwhile, along at Talavera-on-sea, the Spanish Grenadarios form square to receive cavalry; Dragoons that is.
 On they ride with neigh chance of breaking a square...
 First out of the plantation is the skirmish line. German and Spanish sharp shooters go head to head in no-man's-land.
 The Militia stand bravely and await one of Level's columns...
 Uphill the main line is under attack from more columns...
 ...and the rest of the line takes an artillery bashing.
 Reserves are drawn forward...
 ...and the line is steady.
"Senor! you have been selected from many compadres to get seven chances at the Reader's Digest prize draw!"
 Important news arrives
 A Spanish battalion bites the dust assaulted by infantry and cavalry simultaneously...clever move
Still, the line is steady and, as yet, unbroken

Will new Spanish orders turn the tide?
Can the French be stopped?
Can reader's Digest be stopped?
Can the singing be stopped?

Find out next time in another bowel clenching episode

Friday, 13 May 2016

Napoleonic Interlude: Talavera 2 - The Re-run

 Replay of our Talavera game seeing it's been set up a while. The Tagus turns into the Volga half way across. While the Volga experiences a bit of a freeze the Tagus is warm and languid. We play this game as a break and because then we can reset for Uranus (it's not funny, it's you) we'll be using the whole table to finish the Stalingrad campaign. Any hoo, the French are bowling from the Pavillion end and get to go first because it's their ball...
Speaking of balls (oh, grow up) the first shot of battle is a cracker for the French artillery
 The roundshot hits the first line...
 ...and goes all the way through to the last line knocking lumps out of everyone in the way
 ...and the British close up. What's not to love about Shako 2?
 Meanwhile, Level's Division marches on through the orchards
 ...and the cavalry take the opportunity to run down the Spanish guns! Screaming into the charge the Dragoons followed by Hussars press down on the enemy to the front! The gunners fluff the shot and are cut down to a man...
Only the bullocks (steady now) are left to chew cud as the gunners are no more...but they hit the line behind who've not managed to form an emergency square and are amazingly mown down...
 ...and bounced back to Toulouse, nearly.
 Level 's Division nearly through the groves already
 From across the valley come the French columns shouting about long live the oompa loompas or some such, before facing a battery of the RHA (who don't approve of singing)
 Yet more columns. This attack is really heating up!
 Several Divisions all on the march. The pas de charge is beating out the old-trou-sers, old trou-sers, rhythm. The fyffes shrill. Bugles call orders. All is colour, noise and death...
The guns of the Spaniards on the hillside join the fracas and the infantry, officers at their head, watch the unfolding drama below...

Next time:
Will the French shock tactics work?
Will the Volga thaw out or the Tagus freeze?
Will I ever find another bargain on ebay again?
Does a Killie pie beat a sausage roll?

All will be ignored next time...keep watching the skies

Friday, 6 May 2016

Stalingrad: Part Nine - High Tide

 Again the Katyushas and mortars come down on the forming up points and the road which is the start line for this final German push
"If I stand up I'll get a hole in mein clip board!"
Three shredded battalions supported by the last of the assault pioneers put it the last desparate attack to take the second half of the Barrikady complex

 The infantry queues for its place in the mincer...
 ...no one is under any illusions in this wasted place...
 ...mortar crews count off the seconds to the whistle
 GHQ sees only the defensive barrage ahead and that the last of the Divisional reserve has passed it by
 Boots and engines no longer roar through the under pass
 But there are prisoners to interrogate. These units are newly arrived and were but a few days before east of the Volga...
 The General can see for himself the destruction of his Division
 The HQ Flak unit scans the sky but sees no Russian aircraft. Ominously, it sees no German aircraft either...
 The Russians hold their mound of rubble...
 ...with desperate tenacity
 German infantry assaults with reciprocal ferocity (I'm running out of period troops hence the soldier with an MP44!)
 German mortar round fall all around the Russian positions taking a high toll of the defenders
 Two companies sacrifice cover for speed
 ...but all movement in this city leads to high casualties and tactical failure
 The losses are unsustainable
 and even the best are liable to crack. The engineer battalion suffers 75% losses and pulls back into the cover of taken ground
With neither jubilation nor despair the Russian defenders watch the Germans reel their necks in. So far they have survived but will they prevail?

A biting wind slices in from the east. Experienced Russians can smell the snow in the air and know that their greatest general is coming to the city on the Volga...General Winter, scourge of the Invader.

Next Time: The butcher's bill so far and free ice lollies in new water flavour!

Thanks to 'Stalin's little helpers' Alan, Ross, Ferdy and Colin.