Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Kleine Krieg- The Encounter at Kartoffelkopf

When it comes to wargaming, I realize that I have always tended to enjoy the more modest, smaller engagements rather than the larger set-piece battles with no flanks and hub-to-hub artillery.  

This is partly because smaller games are far more practical to set up and transport (unless you belong to a thriving gaming group whose collective membership can field huge armies, like the one I was lucky enough to be a part of when I lived in Vancouver),  It is also because smaller games could frequently provide more of a tactical challenge as a result of having more manoeuvre space available.  Thus not only were the games less unwieldy, but you had flanks to worry about!

Of course I love the spectacle of the big games, and would jump at the chance of participating in one should the opportunity arise again.  But the smaller games could often end up being more interesting to play.  I always enjoyed the "narrative" that they often generated, especially when they were part of an ongoing campaign.  In these kind of games you are not too busy just rolling dice and keeping track of the effect of endless rounds of musketry, so that an element of role playing can come into things.

And of course, you do not need so much table space!

Now most of my time painting recently has been on my French Napoleonic forces, but progress on the French has been going well enough (by my standards!) so that I have recently taken brush to the Russians, and they are looking good.

I base my forces, as I almost always do, on historical orders of battle.  But by creating the the Freikorps Pfaffenhofen  (as well as the Streifkorps Mussinpushkin from the ranks of the Russian IXth Corps) I can engage in a whole series of small, fictional- yet historically plausible- scenarios that can have me gaming well before my forces ever get finished (and yes, I'm planning on mercenary brushwork at some point to speed up production;.  It's either that, or paint until I'm 135 years old...).

On top of that my gaming partner, Giovanni, has been expressing interest in doing a Napoleonic skirmish game sometime.  Well, I'd be happy to oblige.  

What better way than to start the adventures of the  Duke of Avenberg-Pfaffenhofen and his Freikorps, as they attempt to run roughshod over the German countryside?   A romp which, of course, the French under the command of Général Victor-Eugène Bouillon-Cantinat, are determined to stop.

To kick things off I have decided to start by raising the forces I will need for the Encounter at Kartoffelkopf in 1813, a small skirmish scenario that will see the start of an Allied effort to cause confusion to Boney in the lands around Anhalt in 1813.   It will also give me a focus on my painting for a while, including some cavalry.


 (click on image for larger view)


The armistice with France has ended, Austria has joined the Allies and the Army of Silesia prepares to take on the armies of the Corsican upstart.  As the campaign begins, the Allies are hopeful that France's allies in the so-called Confederation of the Rhine can be persuaded to see common sense, and recognize that since the disaster of the Russian campaign, Fortune has indeed finally deserted the Emperor of the French.  Soon, and with the Blessings of Providence, the people of Germany will rise and finally throw off the yoke of their French masters.

To this end, the Duke of Avenberg-Pfaffenhofen has been sent to the occupied Anhalt region on the flank of the Army of Silesia, with the following brief.
  • To disrupt enemy communications and deny supplies to the French field armies.
  • To raise the banner of Liberation throughout the territories of Anhalt, and to recruit as many able-bodied patriots as can be found for service with the Freikorps Pfaffenhofen.
  • When circumstances are favourable, to surround, cut off, and otherwise render hors-de-combat any isolated detachments of French forces as the opportunity presents.
  • In addition to his Freikorps, the Duke will operating in close cooperation with Streifkorps Mussinpushkin, who will follow and assist the operations of the Duke, and who will liaise with the remainder of the Army of Silesia. 
Action was swift in coming.  Two days after entering Anhalt, French deserters and patriotic townspeople have brought intelligence that the region was teeming with French troops.  A brigade of General Souham's 8th Division under the command of Général Bouillon-Cantinat have been rebuilding strength and numbers in preparation for the forthcoming campaign, and was billeted throughout the region.

Word is that there are two companies of Voltigeurs stationed in the small settlement of Klein Kartoffelkopf,  a half-day's march from Hausenpeffer from the north, and about the same distance from the  town of Trinkenwasser to the southeast.  They are unaware of the presence of any enemy forces in the area.

If the Duke can sieze this town and take it's garrison captive, it will enhance his reputation and that of the allies, improve the prospects of future recruiting, and force the French to use valuable troops and time dealing with this new threat to French arms.

Time will be of the essence, as the rest of the French regiment is believed to be stationed in nearby Trinkenwasser, and may be expected to attempt to relieve the detachment one they hear the sound of the guns.  

The next post will cover scenario details, rules, and figures!

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