Sunday, July 21, 2019

POLISH LEGION OF THE HUNGARIAN REVOLT


The latest: Steve Barber Polish Legion Advancing (and Officer)

This brief post, dear readers, is a delayed update on the recent completion of a contingent in my Hungarian Revolt forces: the Polish Legion (infantry).  These fellows actually marched onto the table with the Hungarian flanking force in the Battle of Hatvan game, but did not see any action.
Earlier Polish Legion (Converted Murawski Napoleonic Poles)
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Long time readers of this blog may recall that prior to these figures being available in the Steve Barber Hungarian Revolt line, I had done this unit by converting Murawski Napoleonic Poles. Although I was happy with that conversion, I could not resist adding the actual Polish Legion figs to the force once they became available.  The proportions of the SB are more consistent with the remainder of my Hungarians (and I'll admit, because I liked the look of them). As usual, in this post you may clix pix for BIG PIX.
These were fairly straightforward figures and uniforms: very business like and utilitarian...
...except for the splendid low-form red czapka, of course, which makes the unit really stand out on the table.  After much research, I decided to not embellish the czapka top with the usual crossed white lines.  References indicate that the artillerists had a black "box" on the czapka top, but there are no specific references to any embellishment of the infantry czapka. From what I gleaned from images, none of which explicitly detail the top of the headgear,  there is little or no indication of anything that would stand out.  So I decided that the plain caps work well with the overall look of the uniform, with the unadorned red rectangular shape still giving quite an impression. 
 The early Polish Legion White Uniform (Figure at left) 
 

 Polish Legion in Later Blue Uniform from The Honved Army 1848-49 Gyozo Smogyi

In response to such appearances, someone in our group will usually quip, "They look pretty, but can they fight?"  I think the below excerpts about facing the Poles from Scenes Of The Civil War in Hungary in 1848 and 1849: Personal Adventures of an Austrian Officer answer that question:
Excelsior!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

GAME REPORT: BATTLE OF HATVAN, 2 APRIL 1849, HUNGARIAN REVOLT

Mark D considering the situation on the Hungarian left flank.
I am happy to report, dear readers, a double achievement.  First, that I have broken the year-plus drought of hosting games at my place (it's been too long!). Second, that I have achieved the long anticipated debut of my Hungarian Revolt figures in a game with an updated version of my Volley and Bayonet post-Napoleonic battalion scale variant (I'll post links to the rules and references at the end of this post).  Although this is not yet my Chocolate Box Wars (CBW) system, the concepts I'm proofing in the VnB variant will inform that product, so this is also progress on that front as well.  In this post, you may clix pix for BIG PIX, as usual.  You can also find a game report on Mark D's blog

Austrians Destroying the Bridge on the Zagyva river before retreating.
Public Domain.  
This game was inspired by the Battle of Hatvan, 2 April 1849, between the Austrian III Corps and the Hungarian VII Corps.  I say "inspired" because, as I've related before, I take a historic battle and create a game out of it.  This involves some license to fit the scenario to the figures and resources available, to conform it to the rules, and to produce something playable in the context of the day.   The Battle of Hatvan provided an excellent model for what I was after: it was a a meeting engagement between a Hungarian and an Austrian Corps, just the thing to have both sides active vs having one sitting and one moving.  You can read about the actual battle at the link above.  I followed the historical flow conceptually, with the Austrians coming on strong early and a smaller initial Hungarian force holding on while waiting for help to arrive...
 THE SITUATION
In the game, each side was roughly equal in strength. The Austrians had 3 infantry divisions plus a cavalry division.  The Hungarians had 3 infantry divisions with cavalry integrated into the brigades.  The Austrians began with two divisions (of their choice) deployed on the table, with the third coming on in turn 2.  They could have broken up the cavalry division and had it on the table with the divisions at start or have it as a complete command arriving on turn 2: they chose the latter. The Hungarians started with their 1st division in an advanced position perilously close to the Austrians.  Furthermore, it had to be spread out so that it had elements sited on each of the features in its starting position.  This was to represent the moment when the Hungarian lead division, which had been advancing across a broad front to develop the situation, bumped into the Austrians coming in force from Hatvan! The Hungarian 2nd division would enter on turn 2 from Hort.  The Hungarian 3rd division was coming on a flank march, but the Hungarians had no idea when it would arrive.  So, they would have to hang on until then.  The victory conditions were simple and intended to prompt a game with both sides "mixing it up" in order to proof the latest version of the rules and get players familiar with the system.  A side would win if, at the conclusion the opposing side's turn, it had either Hatvan (for the Hungarians) or Hort (for the Austrians) within  range of either artillery or infantry.  Simple.  Given that each corps had a river at its back, these conditions reflected the imperative of maintaining secure access to its crossing point  (represented on the table by the Hatvan and Hort templates). 
 THE STARTING SET UP
 Above: The Hungarian 1st division faces the lead Austrian 3rd and 1st divisions...
...close up the the initial forces, with the Hungarian 1st division (left) looking thin in comparison.

THE "MIDDLE GAME"
 Above: The Austrians attack. The Austrian 1st division advances to the left while the 3rd division pushes to the right.  The Austrian 2nd division arrives and pushes up the center while the Cavalry division rides hard for the Hungarian right flank. The Hungarian 2nd division arrived on turn 2 and deployed in depth...
...the Austrian 2nd division launches its attack, with a half-battalion of Kaiserjagers in the lead accompanied by a half battalion of grenzers (seen in the background).
Above: the Hungarian 1st division takes up reverse slope supported by artillery, posting the dauntless German Legion forward to blunt the Austrian onslaught. In the distance, a lone squadron of Hungarian hussars opposes an oncoming Austrian brigade of the 3rd divison...
...farther down the line, the 2nd brigade of the Austrian 1st Division closes with the isolated right brigade of the Hungarian 1st division...
 ...and the Austrian Cavalry division rides behind the action towards the open Hungarian right. 

THE AUSTRIANS PRESS THE HUNGARIANS
Above: It's hard to make out the markings (in green), but they show that during the fighting two of the three brigades of the Hungarian 2nd division were committed to extend the Hungarian line and shore up the defense, leaving only two battalions on the final position. Just visible at the far right, the leading unit of the Hungarian 3rd division can be seen entering. Will it be soon enough?...
 ...the "Gray Attila" battalion of the Hungarian 2nd division moves down to support the hard pressed 1st division. (Above right), the 3rd brigade (green strength markers) of the 2nd Hungarian division deployed on the left end of the 1st division line...
...the view from behind the Freiwilliger Jager half battalion of the Hungarian 3rd brigade, the far left unit of the Hungarian position...

THE CRISIS OF THE BATTLE
Above: The Austrian 1st division has spent itself against the right of the Hungarian line, but the Hungarians line here has been battered and reduced.  The Austrians are on the verge of a breakthrough in the center, even as a threat starts growing on their flank (very much like the late stages of Waterloo)...
...the remaining two brigades of Hungarian 1st division heavily engaged and pinned down on the left end of the Hungarian line...
...view of the Austrian breakthrough from the "red cap" Hungarian heavy artillery battery.  Will it become another legendary "battery of death"by making a last stand here?

 THE RACE IS ON
Above: In a stop gap move, the Hungarians throw whatever is available in front of the Austrian 2nd division. Meanwhile, the Hungarian 3rd division is present in strength and starting a threatening flank march around the Austrian left. The race is on! Sensing that time is running out, the Austrians begin to pull units back while making one last "all or nothing" push...
...the Austrian cavalry division is launched in a classic "death ride" around the Hungarian right...
 ...the dashing cavalry half-battery and dragoons lead the charge.  This would represent the high water mark of the Austrian advance (and high drama point of the game, as well!). Ironically, the Hungarian hussar (seen in in the background to the right) would lose its melee and fall back to an ideal position to deal with the the Austrian cavalry battery.   Enough other units were able to be pulled back and on the way to forestall the threat to Hort.  With the "death ride" thwarted and the Hungarian 3rd division closing in on Hatvan, the Austrians graciously ceded the game at this point, although it was a near run thing! 

The stuff: Later in the month, I'll be posting the materials for this game on the 19th Century Rules page of this blog. In the meantime, you can download the orders of battle, setup diagram, notes on the rules variant, player reference sheet and terrain effects chart at these links in this post.

A DAY OFF FROM WORK SPENT WITH GOOD FRIENDS...
The Hungarians, left to right: Byron (3rd division), Charlie (2nd division), and Mark D (1st Division). 
The Austrians, left to right, Ralph (3rd division), George (2nd division), and Mike (1st division and Cavalry division). 

 ...TOY SOLDIERS...

 ...AND DONUTS...

 What could be better? 

Excelsior!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

WARGAMES ILLUSTRATED 380 AND 15 MINUTES OF FAME

A few weeks back, I received a nice email from Ian Bennett of Wargames Illustrated expressing an interest in (and permission to use) an image from my blog of my Hungarian Gunners in an upcoming issue of Wargames Illustrated. Well, dear readers, this has come to pass (and I have received a complimentary issue of said mag: thanks!) as usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX...
  ...and here they be, on Page 47 of the June Wargames Illustrated!
(posted with permission) 

This would explain the recent spike in followers to this blog--rocketing from 49 to...49 (never mind). Hey, at least the count didn't drop!   Moving on, the above image appears in the midst of an overview piece by Bill Gray on the Hungarian Revolt.  I don't intend to do a point by point analysis of the piece, but I think it gives the impression, intentional or not, of the Hungarian Army of the Revolt as a haphazardly organized, under-equipped, rather irregular affair, and of the conflict as a foregone conclusion. In my study of the conflict, I expected to find these things, but came away instead impressed at the actual structure and operational organization of the Hungarian/Honved forces (check out the link to the OOBs later in this post and draw your own conclusions, though). Having said this, I'd like to add that given the space available and the amount of material to cover, I think the WI piece is just fine.  It's all good information to expand options for playing with toy soldiers. 


I would direct anyone who has stumbled on this blog who is interested in more on the subject to check out my post on the book, Scenes of The Civil War In Hungary; The Personal Adventures of An Austrian Officer for another readily available resource.   As a reference, I would suggest acquiring, if nothing else, the following excellent Ralph Weaver book: 
 Available from Caliver Books

Added to the list of options for playing the Hungarian Revolt mentioned in WI, I would add that Bloody Big Battles has an existing (and growing) list of Hungarian Revolt scenarios. I don't subscribe to Yahoo Groups any longer, but I understand that these are available in their Yahoo Group (and perhaps in a supplement).   I would also suggest that Volley and Bayonet would be a good option, particularly the variant(s) of it (and a few other 19th C systems) that I have posted on my 19th Century Rules/Chocolate Box Wars Page  (note: I'll be posting a new set of Volley and Bayonet 19th C variant reference sheets and notes in July: watch for it!).
 Skirmish during Hungarian Revolution 1848-1849. Public Domain Image

Finally, as a bonus to anyone who still has the stamina to be reading this, I have downloaded the complete list of Nafziger Orders of Battle for the Hungarian Revolt You may want to start by looking over the List Key.  Enjoy!


 Excelsior!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

THE GRENZER SHUFFLE

One of two new additions--Austrian 1848/mid century Grenzers. 

This post, dear readers, falls into the category of painting new units, but also into the "can't leave well-enough alone" category--otherwise known as the all too common "nobody would know the difference but me, so why am I bothering with this?" category. The answer to the latter being, "But I would know and it would bug me, so I'll go through this to satisfy myself," category...categorically speaking. 

Superficially, I could have done this post as a study of two newly added units to my Hungarian and Austrian mid century/Hungarian Revolt-era lists: one Hungarian and one Imperial--grenzers both. Ironically, this new work comes on the heels of my recent display of the "completed" Hungarian and Austrians (complete until a new thing hews into view, that is).  But there's more to this project than two new units. The genesis of this tinkering came about for three reasons. 1) I wanted to add one more Grenzer to each side 2) It turned out that my figure match was reversed.  I had originally used converted Perry Napoleonic figures for my Hungarian Grenzers and Steve Barber Grenzers for my Hungarians, but my Austrian infantry turned out to be converted Perry British Intervention Force figures and my Hungarians Steve Barber figures. 3) I had done my original Austrian Grenzer in pink facings and my Hungarian in yellow, but later found out that the two Grenzer units that fought with the Hungarians each had pink facings (would anyone but me have known? probably not...). Thus, I used figures from the "other" figure line for the new units and I redid the facings on the completed units to move them "across the line" to the other side. For those who are still reading, you may see the results of this exercise in the following images, which may help to clear up the muddle that I've just tried to explain (as usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX)...

HUNGARIAN GRENZER UNIT #2 
 The officer is a repurposed Steve Barber 1848 Austrian Officer Advancing.
The now complete Hungarian Grenzer contingent, both units with pink facings. The new unit (#2) is in greatcoats to differentiate it from unit #1 (on the right), which had its yellow distinctions repainted in pink.  I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised at how the greatcoated unit turned out--it may not be a peacock, but it has an appeal, nevertheless.

AUSTRIAN GRENZER #2
Perry Napoleonic Grenzers Skirmishing Converted to Mid-Century Austrians.
The animation of the Perrys tends to make each figure its own project, as opposed to the Steve Barber, which lend themselves to more "assembly line" painting techniques. 
  The complete Austrian Grenzer contingent, with the new unit (#2) on the left joining the original (#1) on the right. I redid unit #1's distinctions from pink to orange  and re-did the pompom in Austrian black and yellow, but I could not bring myself to redo the drum, which I left in the original Hungarian details--let's say it is a trophy.  Although each has its own unique color distinctions, I added a bit more by using Grenzers skirmishing for unit #2 as opposed to the Grenzers casually marching in unit #1. Both have the same command set, from Grenzers marching. 

HUNGARIAN AND AUSTRIAN GRENZERS 
 The Steve Barber (Hungarian) Grenzers to the Left and the Perry (Austrian) Grenzers to the right.  Each line has its distinctive look.  I can now rest knowing that the figure Feng Shui is  finally in balance.  

Excelsior!
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