Sunday, 18 March 2018

Size Matters

28mm Austrian Army

I painted my last model soldier before we left the UK to move to Spain in 2006.   At that time we had a complete collection of Napoleonic armies in 6mm, 18mm and 28mm.  

We also had scenery, in particular buildings and trees, in each scale. Though it was far from comprehensive.   However there was sufficient to clutter the wargames table in any of the three scales.

This was the result of 40 years of collecting and painting figures.   Both the 28mm and 18mm had been completely replaced more than once, as new figures became available.  

It was our intention to design a campaign which would allow us to use all three scales and all of the scenery more or less in rotation.   Our current 1813 campaign does so by having five campaign areas each with a major French and allied army.

I wanted to use the 28mm to fight single corps battles, 18mm for two or three corps battles and 6mm for larger battles.   In theory this worked fine.  In practice less so.

The major problem was to design a wargames table that would be suitable for all three scales.   After much thought I realised that this could only be achieved by having a flat play table and three sets of buildings, roads, rivers and trees one set in each scale.
18mm Austrian Army

I designed the campaign to provide interesting battles to wargame.   And to make the transfer from map to table easy the map had to show the exact terrain.   This was achieved by using scenery squares showing roads, rivers and hills.  The buildings and trees were free standing.

However unless I produced three sets of scenery squares the rivers and roads would be greatly out of scale.   I compromised by making them slightly too small for 28mm and slightly too large for 18mm.   They were completely unsuitable for 6mm

All was well when I was refinish the campaign and wargames table.   We played games with all three scales.  28mm and 18mm were reserved for the 1813 campaign, and worked quite well.  

We used the 6mm to game “one off battles”, particularly the larger historical ones such as Waterloo and Leipzig.   However we quickly lost patience with the tiny figures.   To fit the campaign orders of battle and our home brew wargame rules, all three scales had to be based the same.   This worked well for 28mm, less well for 18mm and not at all well for 6mm.   There were massed of tiny bases which were difficult to handle and almost impossible to identify.   Eventually we stopped using the 6mm.

Our experience with 18mm was similar.   Again must smaller than the 28mm, and more likely to fall over on hills.   Being so small they were also difficult to handle and identify.   Eventually we also stopped using them and relied on the 28mm figures

So now I have a large collection of 18mm and 6mm which have not been used for about 8 years.   I could try to sell them, but really don’t want to face the hassle.  And they are all based for rules which no one else would use.

The summer is a quiet time for us here in Spain, because it too hot to do any hill walking.   Consequently it is a good time for me to take on a new project.   I am trying to convince myself that finding a way to use my neglected 6mm and 18mm figures might be a worthwhile summer project.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Start of Nuremberg Campaign Phase

Austrian and Bavarian positions at start of campaign

Our new campaign is set in southern Germany, where the Third French Army hope to halt the Austrian advance.

This is the twenty seventh campaign phase of the current 1813 campaign which began in March 2015.   It has produced 116 battles to wargame so far.

It is also the sixth campaign phase dealing with the conflict between the Austrian army of Marshal Schwartzenberg and the Bavarian and Baden army of Marshal Oudinot.   The Austrians have won all five previous campaign phases.  Out of 16 battles fought the Austrians won 11 and the Bavarians 6.

The Bavarian army started the campaign at Augsburg on 1 March 1813 and has retreated to Nuremberg at the start of the current campaign on 1 August 1813.

There are five campaign areas and Southern Germany is my favourite.  I enjoy the sight of the white uniformed Austrians and the light and dark blue of the Bavarians and Baden armies.   Both armies are evenly matched in combat ability and should produce good battles to wargame.

However as a campaign area the poor performance of the Bavarians is a disappointment, and a cause of some confusion.   In the other four areas the allied and French armies have a more even record of victories and defeats.  Even the Spanish have won 7 of the 17 battles fought in Southern Spain.

There is no logical reason why the Austrians should have done so well.   In my armies each nationality has strong and weak fighting abilities.   But the wargame rules rely sufficiently on luck to allow either side to win.   Marshal Schwartzenberg has obviously had a five month run of luck.

I don’t have any plans to change the balance of the two armies, nor to change the wargame rules.   However I may play a very cautious campaign in my role as Marshal Oudinot!

It will be interesting to see whether the dice continue to support the Austrian cause.

You can follow the progress of the campaign on the campaign diary blog here