Category Archives: Volley & Bayonet

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.

Dusting off the Austrians

Our Napoleonic gaming kicked off last Friday with our first Volley & Bayonet game of the year. Despite a range of armies to hand I was particularly keen to see my Austrians take the field. Further, while we have been playing a few 1813 games of late I find the 1809 campaign equally interesting and worthy of a game or three.

Why, well the 1809 campaign has a mix of battles of various sizes. These range from the massive battle of Wagram and the equally dramatic battle of the Aspern-Essling to the smaller, but equally fascinating, battles in Italy.

However, despite a good selection of historical battles we thought a good place to start the year was a fictional engagement.

Both the French and Austrians deploying some 3000 points of troops which for these armies amounts to around 50,000 troops. Now, who better to command the Austrians than Archduke Charles. With the 6mm miniatures deployed we were set for a great multiplayer game on a Friday evening. If you are interested you can find a short report here.

Eugene on Campaign

During July I’ve managed to fit in three Volley & Bayonet games. First an American War of Independence refight of the Battle of Cowpens, in 3mm scale. This was in turn followed by a fictional 1864 American Civil War game in 6mm. Most recently, shaking free of the American theme, a Marlburian game in 15mm hosted by Robin and drawing on the well painted armies in Adrian’s collection. Three very different, due to the period specific rules, but fascinating games.

As I’ve mentioned previously Volley & Bayonet works just as well irrespective of the figure scale. Fortunately our group of gamers are more than happy to switch between either scale.

Here are a handful of pictures of the most recent game, where the Allies are attacking a French army deployed in a defensive positions comprised of towns, hills and woods. To make matters worse several field works have been placed to further bolster the French positions. Each infantry or cavalry stand represents around 1000 to 1500 men.

Above the Allied left wing prepare to engage the French right wing. The artillery once deployed were unable to move due to the civilian teams. As it transpired the limited Allied artillery was woefully ineffective in this sector.

Below, a view of the Allied right and the focus of the Allied main attack. The Allied artillery is not unlimited yet, which accounts for it’s facing. After several failed attempts the nearby town was taken by Allied Grenadiers with Prince Eugene, the Allied commander, at their front.

During the course of the battle increasing French reserves were dispatched to the French left, thus weakening the centre. This eventually resulted in a massed attack by Imperialist cavalry. In time this was supported by more cavalry and Imperialist infantry.

Above, the French cavalry on the left cover the hole in the French centre.

Another view, this time from the French lines on the French right. The French works here were eventually taken when the French infantry retired, a reaction to the worsening situation in the centre.

A fascinating game for the three players and a great way to spend a winters evening. Next, I think it’s back to the American Civil War…

Lee & Meade at Hazel Run

Continuing what seems to be an American Civil War theme, I’ve recently posted a report of one of our recent Friday evening Volley & Bayonet encounters. Using armies based on the Bristoe Campaign of October 1863, we deployed the figures for what was a most enjoyable game. Enjoyable from a game perspective, but equally interesting from an historical perspective.

To place it in some context just outside of Fredericksburg are the battlefields of Chancellorsville, the Wilderness and Spotsylvania. The last two cover Grant’s 1864 Overland Campaign – where Meade commanded much of the Union army. Unlike the Campaigns of 1862 here Grant, despite being fought to a standstill, just wouldn’t break off. Instead the Union army slipped east, eventually ending around Petersburg.

For me this most recent fictional battle reminded me of the impacts of the terrain and the resolve the commanders had to damage the enemy army. In our game our “Wilderness”, despite being much smaller and of course meaning the field was considerably more open, had a similar impact. Further, like the actual battles at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, casualties were horrific.

You will find a summary of Hamstrung at Hazel Run, our fictional game, in my Volley & Bayonet section. For those interested in a summary of my visit to the Wilderness Battlefield posted a couple of years back, it can be found here.