Category Archives: Volley & Bayonet

Hundred Days Campaign

Readers of my Volley & Bayonet blog will have already read of my 6mm Hundred Days Campaign project. A project that really started a year ago when, during the first COVID-19 lockdown, I decided I needed to make the most of the time at home.

Now previously I have played all four of the major battles that mark the Hundred Days Campaign. However, searching through my lead mountain which had been bolstered by miniatures purchased second hand, it occurred to me that I could field all the French to allow me to refight the battles of Waterloo and Wavre on a single long table.

In February I completed the French, and they along with the project, are outlined in a previous post that can be found here.

Last week, around a year after I started, the next part of the project is all but complete. Specifically the Anglo-Allied army under Wellington. A colourful collection of regiments drawn from various national contingents the army is certainly diverse. For those interested a few photos of the miniatures, along with a short description, can be found here.

Duelling with Frederick

Over the last year I count myself fortunate to have been able to safely enjoy the company of others around the gaming table. Over the year our regular multiplayer games using Volley & Bayonet have involved our Napoleonic, American Civil War or Franco-Prussian War armies. All have provided plenty of enjoyment.

I’m also aware that my Seven Years War miniatures have not been deployed for around a year. Our current forces are relatively limited and therefore not suited to a multiplayer format. However, this week my Austrians were able to face my opponents Prussians in what was a fascinating game involving one player aside.

I am continually reminded how different the battles of the various periods play using Volley & Bayonet. This latest battle being testament to the more deliberate Seven Years War battle, especially when using infantry. This of course is a result of the simple but subtle period specific rules.

For those interested a short report of our latest Seven Years War action, with Field Marshal von Daun continuing his campaign against Frederick the Great, can be found here.

A Little Painting & Basing

As regular readers know I have been using the Volley & Bayonet rules for many years for my 18th and 19th Century wargaming. In my view they are an excellent set of rules and a level that aligns to my reading of the great battles of the period. Indeed, the rules have allowed me to refight many of the great battles of the period. Some that spring to mind are Aspern-Essling, Ligny, Waterloo, Antietam, Gettysburg and Chickamauga, along with many others. All possible due to the very clever period specific rules.

Each historical refight has provided a fascinating game, but also they have provide an opportunity to further understand these battles. These refights have also been supplemented by many fictional encounters, ideal when time is lacking. These of course lack the historical background yet provide their own interesting narrative. Not unlike  the narrative of historical battles of the period. For me that’s a sign of a good set of rules.

But of course playing these battles requires miniatures to be painted. Our lockdown, due to the pandemic, provided a little more time to dust of various miniatures in my burgeoning lead pile, pick up a paintbrush, and paint what ended up being rather a lot of miniatures.

Now, some background. Over recent years I have been slowly focussing my limited painting time on the refurbishment of several of my miniature armies. All of which use 1/300th or 6mm miniatures from Heroics & Ros. This typically has meant a combination of rebasing miniatures – including increasing the number of figures per base, increasing the figure variety on bases, changing my labelling system and painting additional miniatures.

Some armies, such as the Anglo-Dutch and Brunswick troops shown above, have newly painted figures to supplement those previously painted allowing rebasing to continue.

Other projects have been relatively small, a sub project if you like. An example being the expansion of my Napoleonic Russians which were woefully short of cavalry. These can be seen above and below.

Now of course the pandemic ensured I couldn’t order more miniatures, or at least expect them to arrive quickly. So as mentioned the focus was on the lead mountain. Over the years I have collected a lot of odds and ends in second purchases. So one day I sat down and lay out all the second hand unpainted French Napoleonic figures purchased at bargain prices. After some thought I realised that I had almost enough for another large expansion project.

Above and below Napoleonic French cavalry for my Waterloo project. All are newly painted. Each cavalry stand represents a brigade of 1000 to 1500 men.

Here I’ve opted to model two regiments per brigade using the Hundred Days Orders of Battle. So any brigade here will have the correct facings for its historical equivalent. Above are four brigades of Dragoons in front, each brigade having two Dragoon regiments. Behind are four brigades of Cuirassiers. In total above there are the equivalent of 8000 French cavalry.

Below, another eight eight French cavalry brigades also for Waterloo, many of which are light cavalry. There include Lancers, Chasseurs and Hussars to name a few.

Currently on the painting table are the infantry, an additional 400 French infantry. This project, when added to previously painted miniatures, will see all the French units present in the Hundred Days campaign completed. This will allow the battles of Waterloo and Wavre to be refought on one long table. A project I’ve often pondered, but that really seemed unachievable.

However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Before starting the French I started on my American Civil War armies.

Above and below a portion of the Confederate reinforcements.

Like the cavalry previously each infantry stand is 1.5″ square. Now however each brigade stand typically represents 1500 to 2500 men. Each stand has between 25 to 28 figures per base with additional figure variation adding, I feel, to the overall visuals.

Returning readers may also note the use of white text on black labels, something that I am increasingly pleased with. Of course changing labels in part of the army means doing all the bases.

Of course the Union army also needs reinforcements and these too have had some focus. In addition to several Union infantry brigades I have added artillery.

Below, a massive Union deployment of rifled artillery. In Volley & Bayonet an artillery stand typically represents 12 guns. With a frontage of 0.75″ per stand at the ground scale we are using each artillery stand frontage is around 150 yards.

Combining all the painting, the photos being just a subset, over recent months many hundreds of new figures have been painted and merged into the existing armies. A very pleasing result.

Of course painting is one thing, getting them on the table is another. Long delayed by the pandemic over the last few weeks we have finally returned to some rewarding multiplayer games using Volley & Bayonet. These games have of course provided an opportunity to deploy portions of my American Civil War armies. You can find a short game report of one of these games here.

Exploring the Seven Years War

Finally, after quietly sitting in the lead mountain the first of my Seven Years War Austrians have taken the field against Frederick the Great.

The Seven Years War is an interesting period and one which has appealed as a miniatures project for many years. However, stirred by my visit to the battlefield of Kolin and Hapsburg Vienna a couple of years ago I finally made some progress. Yes, its hard not to be taken by the period with so many fine statues of those great Austrian generals proudly marking the tenacity of Austria to Prussian aggression.

Fortunately one of my regular opponents had previously completed a significant proportion of a Prussian Seven Years War army in 6mm. However, with no period opponent these Prussians were used to represent the Prussians in 1806, a role that they have fulfilled diligently for many years.

I have of course posted previously on painting the Austrians. However, if you are interested there is now a selection of photos and description of our first 6mm Seven Years War engagement fought using Volley & Bayonet, you can find it here.

Franco-Prussian Excursions

Several years ago I had the good fortune to visit several Franco-Prussian War battlefields in France. It’s an interesting war which, among other factors, has the impacts of technology on the battlefield front and centre. From an infantry perspective both main armies are equipped with breechloading rifles, though with very different capabilities. Artillery is being transformed with the Prussians benefiting from their modern Krupp guns. Not to be outdone the French are facing tactical challenges with the introduction of the Mitrailleuse.

At the time of my visit I undertook to purchase a number of 6mm miniatures to refight some of these battles. Fortunately one of my favourite sets of rules, Volley & Bayonet, models this period well. It was therefore a logical extension. Unfortunately, for one reason or another my painting progress stalled. There just never seems to be time to complete one project before being distracted by another. Last year however the first batch of French figures, which can be seen below, were ready.

At the same time one of my regular opponents posed something of a challenge, by asking if we could play some smaller than normal Volley & Bayonet games which could be resolved in around two hours. Intrigued, I pondered options. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I put together a small scenario which used both the limited forces available and would utilise an equally limited gaming window. Despite these limitations the French would deploy most of a single corps, some 22,000 infantry, 72 cannon and 12 Mitrailleuse. Advancing towards them the Prussian commander would have 30,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry and 96 cannon. A reasonable number and well representative of a smaller battle.

Everything was set for a challenging game. For those interested I have tried to summarise our fictional encounter in the following report. Hopefully you find it of some interest.