Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Sheppussaco Battle Report 

Part 1

Jim (Wellington), Tim, John Q and John R (British and Portuguese) took on Andrew S (Marmont), Darren, Van and Robin (French) in the third, annual trip up the highway, to Shepparton for a weekend of fun and feasting.
This year's battle is based loosely on the Battle of Bussaco, Sheppussaco.


In 1810, the French, under Marshal Marmont, are trying to destroy the Allied Army, under Wellington.
Sheppussaco, in Portugal, is a very strategic village. It is situated on a ridge very close to the border, with major roads criss-crossing the countryside. These roads are vital for the "Lines of Communication" to any army which holds the village.
Both armies are approaching the ridge from areas unknown to the opposing Leader.

I like to add some "Mystery" to my games in an effort to spice up the games. One of these was that the General in charge would have to draw on a map provided, the direction of each Division for 5 moves until the orders could be changed or until the unit is about to be engaged.
I will point more of these out during the report.

The battlefield is ready, and the participants are ready to battle

The objective for the game, Sheppussaco. The buildings are light cover except for the building on the left, which is medium cover (The Convent)

All woods are medium woods
 (which means that there is a lot of undergrowth)

There are also a couple of smaller villages around. 
(In our rules, each building represents a group of buildings. The square under the house represents the edge of the BUA - Built Up Area)

Each of the leaders chose from a set of orders. In each one of these orders where enclosed;
What position the army enters the board
 A map of the board for the 5 movement orders.

Each of the orders were sealed with wax and stamped with a fancy S, for the Shepparton Faction of the Nunawading Wargames Association Napoleonic Sub-section (totally made up by the way)

One of my "Mystery" bits, was to place a playing card under each of the sections of hill leading to the plateau. Any unit wanting to move up a section of hill had to commit to going up that section. The card was then turned over and that unit would suffer the movement restrictions. 
A Red suit denoted Rocky Terrain and a Token was placed on that section for the entire game
Rocky Terrain movement was 1/2 speed and 2 disorders
A Black suit denoted Very Steep Hill for the entire game
Very Steep Hill movement was to minus 4 inches from the unit's movement (2 inches off for entering the section and 2 inches off when leaving)

The British entered from Position 1 - Closest to the camera to the small wood on the right side
The French entered from Position 2 - The other side of the small wood on the left side 

Andrew S was the first to test out the "Mystery" is a Rocky Terrain Section

The British didn't have much luck with their sections

The first action was between Andrew S, with his Chasseurs and John Q, with his Light Dragoons

It ended in a draw and each had to withdraw 6 inches

Andrew S moves his troops onto the plateau on their way to the village

Darren moved his Division around the base of the ridge to flank the Brits

Darren's infantry moved obliquely toward Position 3, in case the British came on there
(my 5 move order phase looks like it is working)

After 3 moves the French look like they are everywhere. 
The British are about to commence their 3rd move

Robin charged his Dragoons against John Q's skirmishing Light Dragoons, wiping them out.

The British and Portuguese start ascending the ridge

Andrew S, Van and Robin prepare to meet the Allies

Tim prepares his Division to skirt the ridge, to the right.

Darren and Tim prepare their cavalry for a bit of "biffo"

John Q and John R made it to the village and occupied it
Robin shot the building on the right, causing the first casualty of the game

Robin getting ready to assault John Q's guns, so John Q shoots one of the Dragoons.

A big brawl starts between Robin, Van and Andrew S, on the left, and John R, Jim and John Q 

Meanwhile Darren and Tim started their battle on the plains below the ridge

A couple of charges ended in draws, with both falling back 6 inches each.
(note the blown marker below the dice, it is a horse lying down, exhausted)

John R lost another figure, then vacated the building, which the French duly entered

John Q's troops come in to flank the French

Robin and Van start to grind the  British back

Van's Light Infantry attack the British and fail their Pre-Melee test. They are forced to retreat.
(Note the drum marker, orange - retreat. red (not shown) - break)

Darren charges his cavalry and breaks through a couple of Portuguese Battalions

Finishing up next to the Artillery

At this point, Robin, Van and Andrew S had broken the back of the British and Portuguese at the Village and it was agreed that they couldn't recover, even with some reserves arriving (which I would choose the moment of arrival). Therefore, the French was announced the winners.

The game had lasted 9 moves and finished before dinner. It was decided to replay the game, with a couple of minor changes. This will be the focus of my next Battle Report.

Until then my friends, have fun

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Sheppussaco Part 1

Apologies for my absence, I have been furiously working on my 3rd wargaming weekend, 
The Battle of Sheppussaco.
The previous 2 battles have been Sheppavera and Sheppamanca. The French won Sheppavera and the British won Sheppamanca.
These battles were based on but not exactly the same as the battles of Talavera, Salamanca and Bussaco. The battlefields were similar but not the same.

I used the Orders of Battle of the actual battle and decided to give each side very similar numbers and very similar terrain. This way, there is no advantage to either side as there was at Bussaco.
I also decided to have the game under my pergola at the back of the house as the forecast was for a very nice day.

This first post will cover some of the terrain that I made for the battle.

 I made some hills to make a few ridges for Sheppamanca last year, but, I made them a little too steep and a lot of the soldiers fell over. My soldiers are mainly plastic, which I have added weights to the base. These figures didn't fall over on my ridges, but with the weight of the metal figures more evenly spread, there was a bit of frustration among the participants.
 I therefore decided to fix this problem by re-shaping my hills. I covered all of my hills in a cheap Liquid Nails, that I bought from Bunnings (a tools and home hardware warehouse). This had to be removed before I could  fix the angle.
 My wife and I had new wardrobe doors installed, which I was going to get rid of. She then suggested that I should utilise and why didn't I think of that.......I will never know.
I decided to use the height of the door as the height of the hill.
I used my Hot Wire Foam Cutter to cut the polystyrene. You can also see that I had decided to cut my hills into sections. I thought that 20 cm (8 inches) would be a nice width for these sections.
I was walking through Bunnings, looking for some cork tiles for making some roads when I made one of those "Eureka" moments. On the shelf above the cork tiles I saw these sections of adhesive Lino squares. 
They were only $4 something each and the pattern screamed out "Spanish Roads". Don't you think?
I thought that a 4 cm strip should be adequate so set about using a Stanley Knife to cut the tile.
After cutting up 1 full tile into straight roads, I cut some crossroad, bends and y-sections. After half cutting the tiles I found it very easy to finish the cut with a pair of scissors.

After cutting the sections I was thinking of removing the adhesive by wiping with Mineral Turps, but decided to use the adhesive qualities and attached the sections to some acrylic felt. I was very pleased with the result
Another "Problem" that had occurred in the Battle of Sheppamanca was the "Line of Sight" on a hill. I have not played with many rule sets but I imagine it is a problem in many of those sets.
I decided to take the argument out of the equation by cutting my hills into sections too.
By cutting the end sections, which have no crest, and cutting the rest in half, you have definitive "Lines of Sight" which cannot be argued over.
My next job was to cover the polystyrene to protect the sections. This was once again done by a cheap Liquid Nails called Maxi Nails by Parfix.
I sprinkled some sand on the wet Maxi Nails. This will give both a bit of traction and the "look" of grass
It will also protect the cut areas
I painted them all with Dulux "Royal Hunter Green" as I have some heavy duty material which is dark green
The hill sections came together quite well
As did the other hill sections
I attempted to airbrush some different colours of greens and browns but I hadn't cleaned my airbrush properly, which wouldn't allow me to achieve the finish that I wanted 
I drybrushed these colours on with a small house paintbrush. 
I had another "Eureka" moment. I would make the hills either Very Steep Hills or Rocky Terrain.
Very Steep Hills meant that movement was cut by 4 inches and Rocky Terrain cut movement in half.
Each of these incurs 2 disorders to each unit moving up these hills. The closet door will become a plateau, giving the units a chance to remove their disorders before ascending the "Normal" hills to reach their objective "The Village of Sheppussaco".

In Part 2, I will give the first part of  battle report. Stay tuned