Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Battle for the farm, 1813

Some time ago I played a demo game for the purposes of illustrating the gaming mechanisms of the Napoleonic rule set devised by Aussie gamer Phil Jones, 'Elan'.  Suffice to say these rules have been through a few evolutions since then but are now available for free - once upon a time they were worth playing and have a few neat innovations like the wicked 'bombardment' rule which allows for...  oh, never mind.  If you're that desperate to find out, go and download them from here.

Point is we used both Phil's French and my Austrian & Russian figures then got a pro photographer mate of mine to take photos of it for the 'Elan' rule book. I found the disk with the pics on it (I'd long thought I'd lost it) and after having a trip down memory lane looking at them, decided they were worthy of posting - 'specially since viewers of this blog have been starved of Napoleonic wargaming figure 'action' for a while!

The demo game was an encounter battle set somewhere in Germany in 1813 using a Russo-Austrian force consisting of one cav bde and two infantry, opposed by French and German allied forces of two cav (one Guard) and two inf bdes.  As I recall, the second Austrian inf bde and the French Guard cav never got into action - but they looked really nice so stayed on as decoration.

The action starts with the Austrian Grenz and Jaeger troops occupying the farm and miraculously knocking up some chevaux-de-frise to keep those nasty French cavalry out.  The figures are a mixture of Elite, Foundry and Old Glory.  The first pic is my Austrian general, his staff and escort, with an infantry bde in reserve.

The Austrians throw up some hasty (!) defences against the approaching French legere.

The Austrians form a 'Masse' - basically a solid block of infantry in column with ranks facing outwards - to repel some filthy French lancers and the equally unkempt Chasseurs in support.  The Austrians never bothered to form square after the Austerlitz campaign as it was much easier to train conscripts to huddle in a 'masse'!  Vulnerable to artillery, it was nonetheless impervious to cavalry, as the French found out the hard way at Wagram, and again here!


Austrian Liechenstein Hussar Regt #7 (Elite figures).  Didn't get into the action but look very pretty, so were allowed to hang around and have their picture taken. 

The French infantry throw themselves at the farm on two sides, the Austrian uhlanen (1st Regt - Essex figures) charge in to stop the French German allies from attacking the other side.

The Wurttemburg allies form an enormous brigade square in the nick of time to hold off the uhlans, whose timing was less than perfect and are about to be caught in a counter attack by a column of French cuirassier. Ouch.

The only artillery to get engaged - Russian Horse unlimber and get ready to pepper a nice big juicy square of worried Wurttemburgers opposite.

Russian Horse Artillery limber.  Old Glory figures.  The guns were too small in comparison to the figures so I ended up using Front Rank guns for them (now painted the correct 'apple green' I believe)  They were a beautiful set, now in the possession of one Carlo in Sydney (lucky man) who will not be enticed to give them up so I just have the picture to look at [sob!]

Phil's Old Glory Wurttemburgers, vindictively gunning down innocent uhlans for French cuirassier to ride over.  Not very nice of them really as with typical Germanic bull-headedness, they refused to run away from the Russian artillery.

The final stages - the French have broken into the farm and are pushing the Grenzer steadily back. The other regt of Legere have decided to break into skirmish order to avoid being slaughtered to a man!  On the other side of the fence, the uhlans prepare to die themselves while the Austrian Kuirassier ride in belatedly to support.  The Wurttemburgers laugh at the Russian canister and continue to shoot down Austrian uhlans (as you do).

Hordes of more French cav arrive and the Austrian commander just remembered he's late for his kafe und kuchen, so calls it a day.  It was a fun exercise and we made the photographer work mighty hard in stifling heat to get some nice shots for the rule book. Thanks Dave!

As enjoyable as this is or was, I won't be changing back to Elan from Black Powder any time soon.

But its all an excuse really as I've just finished two of my uni assignments and got them in on time (three more to go!) and am having a short break to paint up a French hussar.

Hope you all enjoyed yet another of my meanderings down Memory Lane!



  1. Great pictures and battle report. As a French player I was happy to see the forces of the Emperor triumph!

    Great job on the figures


  2. Doc
    I have used many rulesets in the past and forgotten most of them... and probably I'll use many more new in the future.
    However the details of some battles still remain.... that is the only important thing, the final result and not the mechanisms.
    I like your Russian horse artillerymen!

  3. Thanks guys

    Miles - yes the French triumphed but didn't have it all their own way. Mercifully they didn't get their Guard cav into action - one of the problems with Elan as I recall is that it made supermen out of the Guard which made them almost impossible to defeat. Of course if you're a French player, that extraordinary bias could be just what you're looking for!

    Rafa - those Russian Horse gunners are long gone but I have since got a Front Rank set and scrounged an Old Glory limber & horses for it (pics of it posted on an earlier post) but I did regret letting the original go. You're right about rules - its the results on the table you remember. That said I have my personal favourites with rules - General De Brigade and now Black Powder - and its because they've allowed me to enjoy using them, the results on the table right?


  4. Wow - that is a great-looking game with beautiful figures. Very, very inspiring. Dean

  5. Actually those French and Wurttemburgers belong to me. Photo's taken in 2002 and I still have all of the figures. 2 Regiments of Carabiniers by Front Rank added to the army as well although they are all gathering dust since the demise of that rules set.

    I think I might still have one or two of my abbatis still alive too. Balsa and bamboo skewer not the hardiest of materials but they work fine. :)

    Front Rank has just released some superb Wurttemburgers which are far superior to the Old Glory ones I have. Might just have to get them for some Songs of Drums and Shakos skirmish action.

    Adam Stone

    1. Hi Adam

      Good to hear from you - its been a while! The Wurttemburgers and French figures that Phil provided for the Elan photo shoot were very nice indeed - I didn't realise that they were yours! As I recall only Minifigs were producing these figures apart from Old Glory at the time. The Front Rank ones look very nice indeed and my UK blogging pal Roger Murrow at the RTB blog (http://rtbatlarge.blogspot.com/) who produced the really nice Poles I posted on recently is also planning to do a Wurttemburg line. If they are anything like the Poles, they will be superb - and very affordable too!