Friday, April 7, 2017

Cheerin' when you're Beeren - Battle of Grossbeeren at HAVOC

I ran my Grossbeeren game with Snappy Nappy this past Sunday at HAVOC from about 10 AM to 2:30 PM. The weather on Suanday was as nice as it was bad on Saturdfay; driving home the temperature got up as high as 65 degrees near Hartford. This was the first time I have attended HAVOC on a Sunday (as a result of staying overnight at a hotel in Worcester with Greg on Saturday). Despite the much improved weather, attendance was exceptionally light. I'd imagine that most attendees for Sunday stay overnight on Saturday, so if they didn't come on Saturday...

Setup as of the start of the game. We played the game with all HAHGS members - Greg as Bertrand ("French", although the bulk of his troops were Italians and Wurttemburgers) at the top of the picture vs Brian as Tauntzein (Prussian), and James as von Bulow (Prussians) vs yours truly as Reynier (French and Saxons) at the near end of the table. 

Hal;f of von Bulow's Prussian Corps. If we had had three players, this would have been the command of a single player.

The other half of von Bulow's Corps. About 1/3 each Prussian regulars, Prussian Reserve regiment, and Prussian Landwehr for the infantry. 

Tauentzein's Corps deployed around the village of Blankenfeld, with Betrand's Corps ready to advance upon their positions. 

Tauentzien's troops are almost all Landwehr (except the artillery), so Bertrand has a qualitative if not quantitative advantage.

Bertrand's boys ready to move out. 

Reynier's Corps started in two bodies, Saxons to the left and French (with the Wurzburg Regiment of the Rhine Confederation) to the left. Given the small number of players, I decided not to throw in the possible reinforcements from Arrhiggi's small Cavalry Corps. Speaking as Reynier, they certainly would have been useful even late in the day!

Close up of the Saxons...

and French/Wurzburg troops. 

Bertrand's first move.

and Reynier's 2nd move - the artillery have forced the lone Prussian Jager battalion out of Grossbeeren (single stand with the white "casualty rings" on it. I made von Bulow's Prussians sit out the first move otherwise; historically, they arrived even later.

von Bulow's Prussians moving out. 

Tauentzien redeploys around Blankenfeld village. 

Battle is joined between bertrand (Greg) and Tauentzien (Brian)!

Reynier's French and Saxons set up a defensive line using Grossbeeren and the windmill hill (represented by the wheat field) as strong points. However, they are significantly outnumbered by their Prussian adversaries, and have but a single unit of Cavalry. Their open left flank is likely to prove a problem before too long!

Von Bulow's (James') Prussians move into position to begin their attacks, hampered by some traffic management issues!  Meanwhile the Jagers have reclaimed Grossbeeren... for now!

Bertrand and Tauentzien come to grips. 

Von Bulow's right flank column threatens the open left flank for the Franco-Saxon position, while the French artillery establishes itself on the Windmill hill. 

Prussian Traffic Jam inhibits von Bulow's ability to bring his superior numbers to bear upon Reynier's troops. 

Fighting near Blankenfeld. 

Saxon Jagers expel their Prussian counterparts from Grossbeeren for the second time.

von Bulow cites his guns carefully.

Pussian Landwehr cavalry manage to charge the flank of a French regiment. Even Landwehr Cavalry can win when hitting a flank!

French artillery fire routs the Prussian Uhlans. Von Bulow demonstrates the Bernadotte style of command, galloping off to get ahead of his routing troopers... and it works no better than it did for his new C-in-C, now styled as Crown Prince Johann of Sweden. 

Von Bulow's Prussian continue to maneuver to prepare their attacks. 

Reynier continues to hold the game objectives - the village of Grossbeeren and the Windmill hill... for now!

Uh oh; that Prussian Grand Battery on the French left flank can't be a good thing!

Bertrand and Tauentzien continue to duke t out; the superior quality of the "French" troops is starting to tell.

Close up of the hard fighting in the woods outside of Blankenfeld. 

Von Bulow's Prussians are breaking through the Saxon held center, and trying to turn the French left flank.

The Saxon Royal guard, resplendent in their red coats with yellow facings, prepares to throw back some Prussian regulars. Reynier (moi) had prepared a cunning counter attack to drive back the Prussians and buy some additional time; however,. I lost the initiative roll and the opportunity passed. With many (? most) of my units with 4 hits (Panicked), I thought it best to get out of town while I still could. Amazingly, not a single one of my units routed (removed from play); the same cannot be said for James, but he could much better afford losses than I could. 

Around Blankenfled, Betrand is gradually gaining thje upper hand, but is still too heavily engaged tio even think of trying to assist Reynier. At this point (about turn 9/12 max) we called the game, which had played out pretty close to the historical outcome - Bertrand defeating Tauentzien but not assisting Reynier, who was forced back by von Bulow after a long hard day of fighting. This battle ended French hopes to take Berlin and possibly drive the Prussians out of the war.

All in all it was a fun and colorful game, and helped James, Greg, Brian, and myself refresh our memories for playing Snappy Nappy in advance of the big "Campaign in a Day", coming in about 2 weeks (Sunday April 23, in Manchester CT). 


  1. Great AAR! What scale are the figures? It may be just a trick of perspective in the close-ups, but they look like 40mm or 54mm.

    Best regards,

    Chris Johnson

    1. Thanks and welcome, Chris! The Prussians are almost all 25/28mm Old Glory with some (large) Lancashire Games Prussians for Landwehr in Bertrand's Corps, and the Schutzen are Calpe (also very large). The "French" are Minifigs (Italians, Saxons and Wurttemburgers), Foundry (real French), and Perry (Wurzburg IR). They probably look bigger as the units (as used for Snappy Nappy) are small, just 2 stands), and I deliberately used the smallest of my 25mm buildings to reduce the footprint (In Snappy Nappy 1"= about 150 yards).

  2. What a splendid and intense looking battle, great report...Even if Berlin is so far away for the Grande Armée...

    1. Thanks, Phil! I was very happy with the look and play of the game; even the outcome was pretty much historical, unfortunately for the forces of the Emperor!

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, John. You should make the trip to HAVOC some year - it can't be that far for you?

  4. Enjoyable visual treat, Peter! Were these some of your recently mustered Prussians that we watched emerge from the painting desk including the Lancashire Games' Prussians?

    With two game presentations, you car must have been packed with figures and terrain especially when you consider it was all in 25mm.

    1. Thanks, Jon! The Lancashire games Landwehr figure prominently in Tauentzien's Corps, and the Reserve units mustered for Ligny in 2015 appear in both Prussian Corps, along with newest Prussian Landwehr Cavalry unit. Because the Snappy Nappy units are so small, it took less than 4 boxes for all the Napoleonic troops, and 6 boxes for the Chariot armies, plus terrain. Indeed, the biggest space consumer was the big boxes containing the terrain for 4 of the 17 tables to be used for the upcoming "Campaign in a Day", which I passed along to James; Russ and Dan are going to set up most pf the terrain the night before. All in all, nothing compared to my usual Historicon carload. I can transport up to 28 of the 8.1 Liter Really Useful Boxes in my car, allowing space for terrain and other items as well.

    2. Not that bad, but a 8.1L RUB holds about 100 28mm figures, depending upon type, of course, so if I use the full 28 bpoxes that's roughly 3,000 figures!

  5. Stirring report, and I really like the pictures. The whole set up looks great!

  6. I really enjoyed this report, Peter; a real romp!

    Normally I play games lower down the pecking order, brigade or divisional sized actions at most. but I think if I ever did decide to play a game at this level, these are the rules I would go with- just based on how much pure fun you guys seem to have with them.

    1. Thank you, Robert! Just checked out your own blog - very nice! Our main use for Snappy Nappy is for the wonderful "Campaign in a Day" events. Those take a lot of space and at least 8 players plus a GM, though. Field of Battle is my go to set for most other battles. SN was well suited to GrossBeeren, though, as it is really 2 battles side by side. Indeed, the French advance on Berlin in August 1813 would make a good and colorful "Campaign in a Day" by itself... a good excuse to use my Swedes as well! Hmmm. In your circumstances, with limited space (Japan), SN would allow you to play most of the major battles of the Napoleonic Wars on a reasonably sized table.

  7. Great looking game and it looks like lot's of fun, got to be good when you get something like the historical result, reminds me I must base up my first nap french line infantry!
    Best Iain

    1. Glad you liked it - Iain! I think I painted up my first unit of French Napoleonic Line Infantry circa 1970, and my most recent ones about 4 months ago; all in all I've painted more than 60, 18 figure units of them... and I have more to do (some additional units in the early uniform with bicornes)

  8. That looks like it was a lot of fun. Did you get the full complement of players you were hoping for, or did the weather keep some away? Are there generally any pre-registrations for the game, or do you rely mainly on walk-ups on the day? Just the sort of game I enjoy being involved in.

    1. Game was listed for 6, we had 4 players, all of us form the Hartford group, which was sufficient to run the game. The attendance on Sunday was *extremely* light, so I was very happy to have 4 players - with 3 we would have run the Grossbeeren side with 2 Prussians vs 1 French, and with 2 layers I would have run the other side with Bertrand vs Tauentzien. The big event is in 2 weeks!

  9. This looks like it was a really fun game! Great looking table, and really nice figures. Proper toy soldiers!