Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Feuerwerken und Weihnachten am Schloss Schönburg

Herr von Braun's WhirlenFliegnRaketenMasjinen just prior to take off in the  Schloss Schönburg courtyard

Christmas Eve in Schloss Schönburg was proving...interesting. Duke Werther and his advisors had been invited to watch a new fangled device to move troops quickly to where they were needed. A certain Herr von Braun had pitched up at in Schönburg earlier that week, he was hustling his invention from minor state to minor state hoping to find a patron, or even a sponsor, or failing that a hot meal

"This invention" he had told the Duke and his advisors " is the answer to any small state's needs. You have limited troops, they cannot be everywhere at once, so what better than a device that can move them quickly to where they are needed"

"How does it work"

"Well, its all very complicated, perhaps we should discuss your particular req..."

Herr von Braun saw that the Duke was swinging his watch chain and decided a sales spiel was not the best tactic

"Well, its has a Steam Rotor, an Italian design from Galileo Industria, and eight rockets. You put the troops in it, light the top rockets, they fire and create lift off, they then ignite the second stage undermeath which sends the craft in the correct direction, and the steam rotor ensures it settles gently to earth, just where needed. The troops jump out and the enemy is routed!

"Jolly Good" said the Duke "Put the Watch in it and shoot it off to KlosterBad, if there's any accidents I'm sure the healing waters of the Spa would sort them out"

"Er..maybe a litle less ambition first time out" suggested Herr Minion

"Bah - alright. What should we shoot up? It needs to be man size to test the contraption"

"I know" said Herr Minion "Lets put all the full size wooden sculptures from the Nativity tableau in the town square into the thing. If it can land a three wise men, a virgin,  the baby Jesus, several angels and a dozen assorted animals it'll work  for our soldiers. Ther's nothing alive above their trouser belts anyway"

"Capital idea. Guards!"

And with that, the Guard ran into the town square, grabbed all the nativity tableau figures, stuck them in the WhirlenFliegen-machine, and the Duke and his advisors then stood back and waited expectantly as a proud Joseph beamed down from the machine.

"This is all, a bit....sudden...Herr Duke, stammered Herr von Braun. This requires preparation and careful...."

The Duke was whizzing his monocle round his finger

"Oh fie, von Braun - if it works, it will work. Fire it up, or we'll put you in it and do it ourselves"

The logic was inescapable. Nervously von Braun engaged the rotor gear on the steam engine, and as the blades started to whirl he lit the blue touchpaper on the rockets, and stood well back. The device rocked a bit from the rotor, then in a blast of smoke and flame it blasted off into the night sky, arcing gracefully over Schönburg, before exploding in a massive bang above the town. Bits of burning nativity figurines went everywhere, like a thousand roman candles in the sky. And just as that was dying down, the steam rotor ignited in a marvellous secondary explosion and arced down like a whirring dervish into the river..

Herr von Braun looked utterly dejected, the secondary rockets had not so much ignited as detonated. But the Duke and his entourage were applauding enthusiastically, and from the town was the sound of loud cheering.

"Perfekt, Herr von Braun" beamed the Duke "We haven't ever had fireworks here before, and now we have, and it has gone off with a bang!. We shall have it every year from now on, on Weihnachts, every noble Birtthday, during SeptemberFest and on Canaveral Day* - you will be our Master of Gunpowder and Fireworks"

"But I am an aeronautical scient".....von Braun caught himself. A Master of Gunpowder and Fireworks may have other "interests" and this place was a sinecure..."how much is the stipend, your Grace"

"Free lodgings, eleventy Thalers a month, dinners at the castle refectory and fresh tart on Sundays"

"I love Orange tart"

"Well, you go to the the town, and pick your own. They come in all colours these days and make a bloody great noise when they do so. I blame the East India Companies..."

And so it was settled.

Some fisherman on the Ang Strom were a bit disconcerted a few days later when they caught a large metal riveted fish in their nets. Once others heard what Herr von Braun had paid to get his boiler-fish back, the river fishermen were much exercised in trying to find similar, but apart from that, and the monks at KlosterBad thinking a comet had signalled that the Second Coming had in fact come, life at Schönburg flowed tranquilly on into the new year.

*Carnival. It's the local dialect.

Monday, 16 December 2013

How Graf Malthus came to Saxe-Märchen - Part I

Graf Malthus

The Saxe-Märchen contingent of the Corps de Vin was still watching the Hesse Hatlands for signs of Prussians, and life in the billets was agreeable albeit dull. They had protected the far north west flank of Soubise's army from a Prussian sortie in the summer, but that had been it. The great battle of Rossbach had been fought and lost, and the mass of the army had now retreated into winter quarters.

Young Werther was riding out with Graf Malthus as he inspected the dragoon piquets. "You're a Proper Saxon, aren't you" said Werther "What made you settle in Saxe-Märchen?"

"Ah, dot voss due to der Var off Ostrian Succession" said the Graf. "It iss a long story"

"We have lots of time" said Werther, who knew that the Graf would be in the saddle until nightfall and beyond. The piquet posts were to be inspected, and so every one would be, come rain, hail or hellfire.

"I tell you vot" said the Graf "I vill tell you now vere it begun. Ve voss falling back after der Ostrians hadt beaten us, I voss vith the Saxon cavalry in our army, undt ve fell back towards the French positions at some town or other. Howeffer, ve hadt not been zere more than a day or so ven news came in that an Ostrian army vidt Rossian support voss going to attack the town. The French vere fortifying it undt our force voss to move up to take some high groundt that French lights vere holdink, undt protect the right flank. Der Saxon cavalry voss in the second line on the left."

The Graf lit his pipe, a vessel the size of a cavalry horn

"In frondt of us voss a brigade comprised of the small Saxon duchies, Saxe-Märchen among them. They vere not ferry experienced, but i tink no von expected a big attack on the far left. Next thing ve knew howeffer, the Ostrians hadt launched a huge flank attack undt these amateurs ver in the firing line. Ve hadt to reinforce them, but also hadt to buy them time. You can giess vot that meant, eh?"

The Graf looked at Werther, one huge bushy eyebrow raised.

"Er...no" stammered Werther.

The Austrians assault the flank, Saxon cuirassiers (bottom of picture) put in a charge to delay them

"Der cavalry - dats uss  - voss ordered to charge. Ve didt. Ve hadt some impact at furst, but then der Ostrians regrouped undt mit bigger numners started to force us back. Ve retired, undt that turned into a rout. It voss eferyvun for demselfes. My shortest path voss to run for de Saxe-Märchen units undt try to get behindt them, undt I ledt my squadron at der gallop tovards them, but ve vere exhausted undt the Ostrians vere closing on us."

The Graf smiled, reminiscing

"Den your Grandfotter - der Oldt Duke, may he Rest in Peace - rides in frondt of uss, yells "follow me" undt leads us to der left, tovards der guns, and leads uss into a gap between der batteries, undt ve thundered through. The pursuing Ostrians hadt dere view obscured, so they didn't see der gunss until too late undt they vere nearly on them. Boom! Boom! Boom! You neffer seen Ostrians run avay faster!"

Saxon brigade including Saxe-Märchen troops hurries to deploy their guns as the last of the cavalry is thrown into the melee vs the Austrians 

"I see" said Werther - "but how does that explain anything"

"Patience yung Paduvan - vell, I saidt to der Oldt Duke, may he Rest in Peace - "You safed my life! I am foreffer in your debt" Undt the Oldt boy vinked undt said - "Ah, but now I order you to form up behindt us, so you can safe mine. I hear you are quite good at that! Der Austrians are alrady on der heights, aundt ve are goingk to retire soon - undt some cafalry to screen uss then vould be a lifesafer"

"But I still don't see....." started Werther

"Ah, look" said the Graf. "Dere is the next piquet station. Ve vill finish this story later"  and he spurred his horse towards a cold looking group of dragoons, huddled in their greatcoats on a windswept spinney.

(The overall battle report is over here)

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

How the GrimmWald Jägers won their bagpipes

Among the reports on the increasing activity north of Saxe-Märchen came the report of strange goings on at a remote old Inn just over the Feeland borders. A company of the newly formed GrimmWald Jägers were sent to investigate in force. As they drew close, they saw some strange men wearing skirts. The Feelanders had always had a reputation for being a bit odd, but this was very odd. The Jägers approached, but as they did so one of the dressed-in-a-dress ones fired a shot at them. The Jägers, though inexperienced soldiers, were all sons of the backwoods and good shots and promptly fired back, dropping the shooter. This prompted a horde more of skirted ones to come storming out the Inn, who started shooting at the Jagers.

GrimmWald Jagers discover men in skirts in old Inn who want to shoot at them

No sooner had a firefight developed, than another bunch of troops, in light blue coats, erupted from around the ruined farmhouse and started shooting at the Jagers too.  The GrimmWald boys began to wonder whether joining the army was such a good idea, no matter how much pretty girls loved a uniform....

 Taking fire from ruined farmhouse...the Jagers are outflanked and in danger

The Jägers decided to retire into an enclosed animal pen, to get cover and some sort of barrier against the skirted ones, who were now clearly massing for a charge and making an unearthly din to boot. The Jägers blew their hunting horns for aid, sent off two of the youngers boys to get it and prepared to make a fighting retreat back to the woods to their rear - or sell their lives dearly

The Jägers retire into an enclosed pen, shooting at the skirted ones, who are massing for a charge

 However, just when things looked at their most grimm (boom boom) yet another bunch of men appeared, and with a crashing volley dropped a number of the enemy. The Jägers, mostly sons of woodsmen and hunters who had never been much farther from home than the dance hall at Muhle am Fluss were both extremely relieved, but also doubly nonplussed - who were all these people running around the wilder bits of the Feeland? A few wild horses and the odd mindering wastrel was it for these parts, usually.

Some crashing volleys from the newcomers send the enemy back into cover

The newcomers carried on their rapid advance towards the old Inn, signalling furiously that the Jagers should do the same. Old Wilhelm Tell, the Jäger company commander, ordered his men to fix bayonets and with a collective gulp, they vaulted the hedge and charged the men in skirts who made the wailing sound. Despite their fervent hopes, the wailing continued.

The GrimmWald Jägers charge with the bayonet

Their opponents however, proved very tough and fought back furiously - until the wailing sound changed, and they all hotfooted it away. The Jägers were exhausted and sank down where they stood. Their strange rescuers came up to the Inn. The Captain of the green clad rescuers had been badly wounded, but while he and the other wounded were being seen to, one of the unit's NCOs spoke enough German to make himself understood and came up to them.

"Who were they - and who are you" asked the Jagers, crowding round him, now more energised by the flow of beer from the Inn's barrels.

"I am Serjeant Roger de Lapin, of the Chasseurs de Fischer, d'Estrees Army of the North, of His Glorious Majesty Louis XV of France. You have just faced off and chased off Scottish highlanders, some of the toughest troops in the English army"

"What - those ones in skirts making an unearthly din? They were just a bunch of hairy girls" said one of the Jägers", braver now

"Don't be fooled by their skirts - they are mountain men, tough as old leather and harder than army biscuits". 

"And who were that other lot in light blue?" aasked another Jäger.

"Those were Hanoverian Legion Brittanique, we have been chasing them for several days, that's why we came here - they have some captive officers with them who we want back. But with our captain wounded we are going to have to stop while we sort him out. There is a squadron of our cavalry nearby, I'm sure they will ride here to the sound of the shooting, and they will have to carry on the chase. The enemy have clearly all being using this Inn as a sort of rendezvous HQ but have now scarpered. However, in their haste they have left some interesting documents. Now, who are you lot" said the NCO "You are clearly very experienced men, to be able to take on and beat the Scots like that"

"Um...we formed last month" said one of the Jägers. "This is our first fight" said another. "And if you lot hadn't showed up, it would have been our last" said one of the more thoughtful Jägers.

"Well now" said Serjeant de Lapin "Your first fight eh? Well, that was some fight you put up!"

"Of course we did" said Tell "We are from the GrimmWald, we may not know about soldiering, but we can all shoot an apple off your head at 50 paces. But still, you did come in the nick of time"

"What was that unearthly noise they made?" said another Jager. "It sounded like a mountain goat dangling by its nuts from a tree-fork* "

"Those were bagpipes, the Scots play them instead of drums and horns and trumpets. Look, they have left some here in their rush to get away..."

"How do they work....."

And that, dear reader, is why the GrimmWald Jägers play the bagpipes.

(Songs of Drums & Shakoes skirmish rules, c 500 pts each of the Jägers, 87th Highlanders, Chasseurs de Fischer and Clermont Prince, and 1st Bn Legion Brittanique. Rules work very well, we used their Napoleonic definitions of similar troops, worked fine).

*And the GrimmWalders would know, believe me....

Monday, 2 December 2013

GrimmWald Jagers commissioned

The newly commissioned Grimmwald Jagers (with Loden Green jackets) demonstrating their skills on the Schonberg firing range. 

"Sir! Sir! Great News from the GrimmWald!"

The Duke recognised one of the junior staff on the Forces Recruiting Team was running up to him. 

"What is it? Have they spotted the Great Stag of the BlauHohe again, and want another thousand Thalers to prepare a tourist centre and comemmorative beertankard run for NovemberFest* ?"

The Duke was cantankerous. Lady Sophia de Loren was still rejecting his advances, and had retreated for a few days solitary contemplation at KlosterBad Spa

"No Sir! The Recruiting Team have had great success, and have recruited about 500 young men from the GrimmWald! And as you know, they are all woodsmen, foresters and mountain men and are very handy with a gun...."

"Oh yes...er, good! Well, have Rumpelstiliskin & Co start making up more blue jackets".

"Ah...they also want their own uniform, too".

"Ye gods no - not more pink?"

"Er...No sir - they say they are real Jagers and therefore say they they must wear Loden Green jackets. And they have pulled their triccornes apart and inned one side of the brim to the hat**, and attached leaves to them. And they don't want to do any squarebashing."

"What! Insolence! We have always had Blue uniforms, and what's an army without squarebashing".

The Duke was about to explode when Herr Klinger minced in. The Duke was a bit dubious about him, but Schiller had appointed him as Head of Military Recruitment, said he had served in the last War and knew about fit men and training and uniforms and so on.

"Herr Duke" smoothed Herr Klinger "We have a a maaaarvellous opportunity here - these Grimmwald boys are all the sons of hunters and mountaineers so on, and very good shots. They are a bit rough, you know - not - ahem - as tame as our city boys and farm boys. Far better we use them as light infantry where their skills can come to the fore. And dressing ones Jagers in Green is just the thing these days. With black webbing too, should look veery contemporary and dashing, I must say...."

"Oh alright - but no pink!"

"No, no pink".

"Oh alright - commision them then. When will they parade in Schonberg"

"Oh Sir! They are Jagers - they don't parade! Perhaps a demonstration of sharp shooting in the capital wouldn't go amiss though - you know, shooting apples off people's heads and so on" 

"Good idea" roared the Duke "I'll pick the people to have apples on their heads right now!"

And off he went, whistling, and mentally composing a list all the people who would have apples shot off their heads. And if the jagers missed, well, too bad...

*We did say that time runs slow in Saxe-Märchen.....

** Imagi-Nations are great for using up odds and ends, like AWI British foot...

Monday, 25 November 2013

Freikorps and Fusiliers

"They want WHAT!!!!"

Count Werther expostulated, striding down the hall of the Schonberg Rathaus, grumpy at the thought of a day of doing accounts rather than doing the Countess Sophia De Loren, a tasty number who was staying in Saxe-Märchen's KlosterBad Spa to take the waters* and recover from the Vapours**.

Herr Schiller, his Press Officer, and Herr Unterling the Finance Minister were struggling to keep up with him as he strode.

"They want us to finance them having big mitre'd hats, they say they will buy the uniforms"

"But why do they need big pink pointy hats on top of their gaudy uniforms - Old Malthus was the same - what is it with pesky minor nobles' and well-to-do burghers' offspring wanting to wear poncy pinky-purple in this place?"

The Duke's face was a sort of pinky-purple shade not unlike the desired mitre and facing colours the volunteers wanted.

Thinking of the Duke's Garde du Corps' gaudy uniforms, Herr Schiller reflected on the Duke's inability to see irony of any sort. He sighed inwardly, and re-addressed himself to the task at hand.

"Many of your citizens are very keen to form a sort of Freikorps for home defence, and they are happy to pay for the uniforms themselves if they get the choices what they want. But, they want to wear Grenadier mitres"

"But only our Grenadiers and the Garde wear Mitres - why can't they wear tricornes like everyone else"

"They think it will make them more soldierly...and apparently the girls prefer men in large pointy hats too. Maybe pink-purple pointy mitres remind them of something"

"Unthinkable - we can't have a bunch of weekend warriors running around in Grenadier mitres"

"They are willing to pay for the whole of the rest of their outfits themselves if they get them" Herr Unterling reminded the Duke. "And their cannons. And the horses of the cavalry squadron. That is not a small consideration"

"How much do we save?"

"600 infantrymen's total uniform costs, 60 cavalrymen, 60 horses, 2 guns and all the other paraphernalia. We just have to find the muskets. Leaves a lot of extra thalers in the treasury, I'm sure some of teh savings could be spent on giving the Countess Sophia something to remember Saxe-Märchen by" said Herr Unterling, deadpan. "I'm sure it could just be part of normal military outgoings..."

Duke Werther brightened. "Done! Fusiliers it is. Dedicate them to the Duchess - she likes those horrible pinky purple colours. And we can't have Freikorps being Frei, except to the treasury eh Unterling! Aha aha aha. Yes, get her involved right away in recruiting her own battalion, that'll keep her diverted while I go riding up in KlosterBad spa..."

The Duke strode down the corridor whistling, Herr Unterling and Her Schiller beamed behind his back. A contract for 660 pink mitres (plus 15% wastage) was soon placed on the newly formed Schiller-Unterling Mitre Manufacturing Company.

And that is how the Duchess's Own Fusiliers*** came to be....

The Duchess' Own Fusliliers parade the standard in ShönburgPlatz

*  Including their reknowned Eau de Vie
** Failed Love Affaire
*** The pink purple mitres soon had the wags giving them a different name - the Schwanzer Grenadiers...

Friday, 8 November 2013

Scraping the Barrel

Join the Army

All the GIrls like a Soldier

Saxe-Märchen's Department of Human Resources  has been calculating how many more men could possibly be found to add to the meagre forces still around to defend the Duchy - the results are shown over here on Emperor v Elector....

So in short, they think they can recruit 2 Militia battalions, a Freikorps unit of horse and foot, and a light infantry battalion.

Duke Werther has told the Department to execute the plan speedily, or else the Department will be executed slowly and painfully......

Sunday, 3 November 2013

A small matter of Defence of the Homeland

"HOW MUCH?"  Duke Werther reacts to Herr Unterlings calculations for raising two more battalions

The heady days of last year, when Duke Werther had taken French gold and sent off all the Saxe-Märchen forces a-soldiering (except for his own Schonberg Regiment and Garde du Corps of course), was starting to look a bit less golden.

The treasury had made a tidy profit for letting the French march their young men up and down the land. However, as the action had hotted up a few months back, it slowly began to occur to the Duke that, while sending his his troublesome brother and over-excitable son and many of the more energetic young bloods away with the French to fight the Prussians in some far forgotten fields had much to recommend it, it had its downsides. While removing many troublesome young (and not so young) men and adding to the Ducal treasury chest was a win-win, there were now precious little troops left to defend the Ducal house and skin in times of trouble, which was a big lose-lose..

And trouble was most certainly brewing. After Hastenbeck it seemed safe to let the boys go adventuring abroad, but news was now coming from afar that the British had reinforced and refinanced the Hanoverians over the summer, and they were soon to go on the march to occupy the very lands the French had left less defended while Dranging nach Osten. And some of those lands could well be those of Saxe-Märchen.

The Duke had already written to Marshal Soubise to see if he could have his troops back, but the French and Imperial army, having been extended trying to find and flush out the Prussians in Saxony, were now involved in an increasingly "hot" situation, in which Saxe Marchen forces had already been fiercely engaged recently. Soubise was thus not at all keen on releasing them right now, as major battle was looming.

Saxe-Märchen would have to look to its own resources. "After all", Soubise had pointed out, "what with the money we are paying you for your troops, you could surely recruit some more battalions with little trouble".

The Duke finally decided to Do Something, and assembled his Court to decide what it was they Should Do. They stood around a large map of Saxe-Märchen (hurriedly picked up from the Schonberg tourist bureau) spread on the table.

"Well, we have the 2 regiments' depot battalions still" said Herr Unterling, the Treasury minister.

"Yes, but that's just two companies of rookies and they all march around with broom handles because we have no muskets"

"Well, we have enough young men to raise two more full battalions"

"Yes, but that is on full pay, and then they'll just sit around all day"

"Better that than have no one ehrm the Hanoverians come"

"How about a Miitia then?"

"We will need cavalry"

"And Guns. We sent all the artillery off to war"

"We should build redoubts along the river and canal"

"Fortify Schonberg"

"No, that would be expensive, its too big and might be too badly damaged. We could move the court up to Kloster Bad, fortify it and fight from there"

"But where do you go if Kloster Bad falls - its open hillside and meadow around there"

"Send the family and jewels to Feeland, no one will find anything in those marshes"

"The Feelanders will sell your jewels and daughters within the week"

"Or how about hiding out in the GrimmWald, up on the high slopes. Maybe we could pay all those backwards GrimmWald backwoodsmen some money to fight".

An idea began to form in the Duke's mind. Yeees, if he could persuade enough GrimmWald hunters to fight, it would take a huge army to winkle him and his treasure chest out the GrimmWald.  And if he could fortify enough nooks and crannies in the Glucklichstal, especially up on the foothills, it would make Saxe-Märchen quite a tough little nut to crack. With luck the Hanoverians would try and approach via Feeland, and thatw ould (literally) bog them down for ages.And maybe bring all the depot battalions up to size. No, that was expensive - but what about a part time militia to man the barricades?

Of course, it meant spending some of that gold he had lovingly watched pile up, but fear has a way of releasing many tight orifices, including the treasury sack.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Byzantium....better Late than Never

As always, real life (and a diversion into Dystopian Wars) gets in the way of painting plans, but the Later Byzantines are finally nearly done - just been varnished, spears on next.(except for the Pechenegs, Peltastoi and Klibanophoroi still to be painted, but this gives a good starter army!).

Skirmishers in the front, line infantry and archers next, Latins, Turkopoloi and Byzantine horse behind, then Tagmatic cavary and Varangian Guard behind that.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Real Byzantines

Real Byzantines are Go - a bunch of new rulesets coming on stream* has meant our club is starting to get its Ancients out again. I bought most of the models for a decent 28mm DBM 12th century Komnenan army c 10 years ago, but we stopped playing DBM soon after so they have been sitting in the Shelf of Despond ever since - but now, onto the workbench they march, in proud ranks:


- A Tagmatic unit
- A down-at-heel Thematic border unit
- The Latinikon (aka Kniggits)
- Turkopoloi
- Skythikon


The Varangian Guard
2 units of spearmnen (skutatoi)
1 of light archers
1 of light javelinmen
1 of light staff slingers

Over August this shall be transformed into a painted, based, flocked, flagged and functional outfit.

Kyrie Eleysion! 
*Trying to base them to be able to work with Impetus, War & Conquest, and Hail Caesar has been a challenge :)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Corps du Vin in Action

War of the Austrian Succession game (will write up as more Memoirs soon ) played this week,   but a friend took this photo which (1) makes my army look good and (2) captures my master stroke - my cavalry charge from the rear - so I just had to put it up :)

Brigade Alsace advances, opening a gap for the Heavy cavalry brigade to charge from behind them. Cavalry Regiments Bourgogne, Royal Rousillon, Fleury, Gendarmes d'Anjou and the Oberrheinische Kreiseskadron all charge

Monday, 17 June 2013

Saxe-Märchen's first action.

It all happened very quickly.....One minute the Saxe-Märchen troops in the Reichs Brigade of the Corps du Vin were making sport with the farm girls on the Hesse-Somethings' borders, they next they were being ordered to move at the double ...the Sarkozy Hussars had spotted something big fording the river between the village river crossings they were watching, and had galloped back to raise the alarm.

The two Saxe-Märchen regiments gathered and made for the village of H.....dorf, where the Brigade command was billeted with the guns and the cavalry, and where they were to be joined by the other two battalions in their brigade, the KreisRegiment Mosel and the Swiss Batalion Valais, also force marching from their billet villages . No sooner had they arrived, however, than a large force of enemy cavalry was seen moving rapidly across the plain in their direction, with light infantry close behind. Clearly this was an attempt to seize the village, no doubt to then move some much larger force through it.

(A bit of history, if you read the blog, you will see that the Corps du Vin is part of Soubise's French and Imperial army, and is watching out for the Disappearing Prussians and covering Soubise's left flank. And on the far left flank of the Corps is the Reichs Brigade of the Corps, strung out over a number of river crossing villages in the French occupied lands, watching the comings and goings along the Riverfor what they could see in the Various Hesse-Hatlands).

The two attached cavalry units, the Saxe-Märchen Leib-Dragoons and the Sarkozy Hussars, as well as the light troops of the Arqubusiers de Bergerac continuously patrolled the areas between the villages and had been skirmishing for months as part of the Petit Guerre.

The dry season had come long this year, and somehow an enemy force had forded the lowered river levels in the early morning between two of the villages. The hussars who spotted this force saw it was far bigger than the usual raider force, at least two brigades in size, and raised the alarm up and down the river.

So here it was...action at last. The Comte de Syrah, OC of the Brigade, placed his telescope to his eye, watching from the top floor of his HQ, an inn on the village outskirts.

The Reichs Brigade formed up between the village on their right flank, with their guns in the village, and a wood on their left flank, with the Arquebusiers holding it. Owing to staggered arrival times, the inexperienced Saxe-Märchen battalions were in the front line, while the experienced Swiss and the inexperienced Mosel were in the rear line. To give the infantry time to form up, the cavalry moved forward but were instantly charged by 4 regiments of red coated and blue coated enemy cavalry.

"Who the hell are those?" asked the Comte, The answer was they were a lot heavier than the Reichs cavalry and smashed through the Sarkozy Hussars, also forcing back the Leib Dragoons. A sharp salvo from the brigade guns persuaded them to retire fortunately - however, as they retired, formed infantry behind the skirmishers could be seen coming up.

"Now or Never" yelled the Comte, and ordered the Mosel to swing out into gap left by the cavalry, and the signalled for Duke Leopold to let the whole brigade rush forward so the enemy cavalry could not reform. Leopold gulped, crossed himself, clenched his bowels and ordered the advance. The Sarkozy Hussars were completely shattered, but the Leib Dragoons were rallied by the Graf von Malthus and swung around onto the left flank, round the woods the Arquebusiers were holding. Pays to know your ground (and throw a 3 x move in Black Powder) thought the Graf

The Saxe-Märchen contingent's first action. Regiments  Wahlheim. (blue Saxe-Märchen flag) and KreisRegiment Mosel (yellow Kreis flag, near) are charged by enemy cavalry. On the far flank enemy infantry in white coats are menaced by regiment Driebrucken.(yellow Saxe-Märchen flag, far distance), the Saxe-Märchen Leib Dragoons and the Arquebuiers de Bergerac (out of picture). Duke Leoppold is bravely holding the far rear (left of picture)

The Saxe-Märchen and Mosel units' first volleys crashed out, with impeccable drill - discomfiting the enemy cavalry. Clearly the rookies had learned something in all this long time marching up and down the River, thought the Comte. Then the enemy infantry moved up, but were also caught by a crashing volley from the Saxe-Märchen Driebrucken regiment, throwing them into disorder.

The enemy cavalry then charged, but the Mosel and Wahlheim regiments somehow held their nerve and two more volleys were given in perfect sequence, disordering the enemy cavalry so they did not press the attack. When the Saxe-Märchen Leib Dragoons appeared on the other flank the enemy infantry started to fall back, screened by their cavalry and lights.

With the Sarkozy Hussars still re-forming and the enemy cavalry still outnumbering the Saxe-Märchen Leib Dragoons 4 - 1, and with everyone nursing casualties, the Reich forces let them go, except for the Leib Dragoons and Arqubusiers de Bergerac keeping in contact with them and nipping at their heels as the re-crossed the river.

Back at the HQ, Young Werther had been given the task of finding out who exactly it was they had faced. He was riflling through the Observer's Book of Army Regiments and eventually worked out what he thought it was - "Saxon foot, Brunswicker and Prussian cavalry I think, Sir" he blurted enthusiastically.

"That must be a part of a Prussian army", mused the Comte de Syrah, realising that like his force, it was probaby an allied contingent, but of the Prussians. "It's a probing force, I'll bet they were trying to seize bridgeheads for a main force crossing - and I'l bet those Prussian cavalry were there to keep the others in line!".

"Send riders to the Corps HQ and tell that old windbag Pinotage (The honourable Duc de Pinotage, Lieutenant General of France, OC Corps du Vin - Ed) what we saw - the Prussians may make other sorties too!.Werther - you go - grab some of those miserable Hussars and set off at full gallop - oh, and tell him your Saxe-Märchen forces acquitted themselves very well - even Leopold kept his pants dry!"

"Yes Sir!" said Werther, and bounded down the stairs......

(Black Powder rules, Saxe-Märchen forces counted as inexperienced so we had to dice for them in first contact - they all came out very well!)


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Breaking Out is hard to do

The Red army has surrounded a small pocket of Franco-Greek forces near Kherson, and the Greeks are attempting to break out. A probe attack by a company platoon of the 5/42 Evzones was launched early in the morning, after a pre-arranged barrage by Allied artillery in Kherson. The Greeks beliebved that there was a weak point on the North road where two large woods interected the lines of Red dugouts and spanish rider barked wire lines. They believed they could get into the woods and break out that way.

Red Lines, showing the 2 woods the Greeks decided to assault, the plan was to focus on the closer one, break in and then break out (red arrows)

As dawn approached, the Greeks filtered quietly through the trees towards the objectives. The Evzones were reinforced by 2 French FT-17 tanks and also brought up one of their Mountain Guns for close support. They decied to assault the rightmost wood en masse, while sending a diversionary force against the other of the 2 tanks, hoping the Reds would think there was a mass of infantry behind them, and mis-allocate any reserves

The barrage started, the tanks gunned their engines, and the infantry started rushing forward, acros teh open ground, one platoon behind the next. The Reds were shaken from the barrage and initially there was very little shooting from their lines, but the Red forward commander guessed correctly what was happening and rushed a squad to a large house just ahead of their lines so they could enfilade the Greeks as they broke out the trees. The Greeks had to divert one of their own squads from the assault to cover this off.

The Greek infantry attack in 2 waves, concentrating on the rightmost flank.

On the other flank the tanks advanced slowly. Initially they were pestered by snipers in a house in front of the Red lines but the 2 tanks raked it with MG fire and the mountain gun put a few rounds in, and it what was left of the house was then all quiet.The tanks trundled on at their magnificent 4 mph maximum speed.

Greeks forces were now starting to get close to the Red lines, but now the Reds had thrown off their shock and started shoting back, taking casualties off the Greeks. At this point it also became clear that a large barn and sandbag wall to the right of the Greek position was becoming a major problem. A squad of Greek Evzones moved up to the spanish riders barbed wire and started shooting at these troops, trying to get them to keep their heads down. The Greeks had Chauchat LMGs whrereas the Reds did not, and this helped them keep a suppressing fire. The Greek captain then signalled the mountain guns to place a salvo on the house, which they did, and that stunned the Reds shooting from it.

Red troops man the sandbag walls by the barn, shortly before the Greeks dropped a mountain-gun salvo onto it

A Red forward party of snipers, egged on by a Komissar, then moved into some shellholes in front of Red lines to enfilde the Greeks, and killed the Greek Captain!. The Greek lines wavered, but then a squad of Evzones charged the snipers, and took them out with cold steel They in turn were then pinned by fire from the Russian lines, but they had stopped the enfilading fire and the first Greek squads gained the woods.

On the other flank, the FT-17s were drawing closer to Red lines, and a Red field gun that had been brought up opened up on them, missing them narrowly. The close support Greek mountain gun shifted fire to silence the Red gun, but it was well hidden in some woods and remained a major threat. The tanks raked the position, trying to suppress the gun, but it would only be a matter of time before it started to knock the tanks out. The Reds also at this point decided to commit their reserves to stop the infantry attack, confident that the tank breakthrough was less likely, but the ruse had worked quite well, giving teh Greeks valuable time - the Reds would be attacking a wood that the Greeks were now moving into.

Red field gun starts to shoot at French tanks over open sights

At this point a noise grew louder, and  overhead a Geek Navy DH.4 was seen. The Greek AO had called it to take out a redoubt on the Greek infantry's left hand flank, but the Greeks in the shellholes were keeping that position's heads down. The semaphores waved desperately from the ground. The DH.4's observer picked up the change, banked and made towards the Russian gun firing at the tanks. A Red MG started to fire desperately into the sky but it was to no avail, the DH.4 made a strafing pass, banked, and then came back, and dropped its load on the position. There was silence from the gun after that.

Greek Naval DH.4 makes low pass over Red positions before bombing the Gun and trenches

And then, just as the Greeks were starting to enter the woods, we ran out of time. It was pack up time. The result was in the balance. Could the Greeks have reinforced the wood in time? Would the Russian reinforcements get there in force first? In counting up the casualties it transpired that the Greek initial barrage had been fairly effective, so Red casualties had also been high and forces were evenly matched still, and the Greeks were more concentrated, but we judged that the loss of the Greek Captain meant the Greeks probably wouldn't have been quite co-ordinated enough to hold the wood and reinforce it fast enough against the oncoming Red wave. The Reds breathed a huge sigh of relief as the Greeks withdrew.

Battle using Bolt Action, the WW2 rules even have the FT-17 tank in it! Sadly we ran out of time just before the real decisive action. I'm very proud of my DH.4, I still need to put the blue centre spots on the Greek roundels but it acquitted itself very well in its first ever sortie. (Its a 1/48 scale Roden kit, and its a bugger to assemble the wings!!)

More Red propaganda and puictures over here from Komissar Janos

Friday, 7 June 2013

Action at Kherson

We resume our Odessa Files mini-campaign with Bolt Action rules used for WW1. In the scenario, a platoon of the Greek 5/42 Evzones is holding a hamlet on the Kherson approach road, which a Red reinforced company with armoured cars and heavy weapons is hoping to overrun in a short, sharp attack. There are French of variable quality in reserve, who may or may not come to the Greeks' aid (depending on dice).

The sleepy hamlet, Greek Evzones are billeted in the houses on the far side of the left-right road in the centre

The Reds decided to attack in two platoon columns with supporrting machine guns along the 2 roads (running bottom right to top left, picture above)) with an armoured car leading each column, while a third platoon and field guns were to be in reserve, to be thrown in where a breakthrough was made.

Red column moves rapidly along the road, led by an armoured car. Field guns start to move into position

Unfortunately for the Bolsheviks, the Greek vedettes were alert and saw one of the columns very early, and promptly loosed off mortar rounds at pre-prepared targets, destroying a Red squad in the right-hand column at the crossroads on the Red table entrance. The Greeks also rapidly sited their machine gun and loosed off a burst, catching another squad in the Red left hand column that had moved away from the shelter of the armoured car.

The Bolsheviks, realising they were rumbled, then rushed forward as fast at they could to the give the Greeks the minimum opportunity to shoot them. The armored cars rumbled forward, trying to suppress Greek shooting positions. 

It soon became clear to the Reds that the Greek troops in the big house in the centre of the table were a major problem, so they tried to rush it with 3 squads from their left column and reserves, while their armoured cars, a machine gun and more of the reserve line moved up and raked the house. Greek casualties were high, but the Greek platoon's commander kept spirits up (at sabre point at times) and they just held out, but it was desperate times and they were still in dire straits.

Red troops, egged on by their Komissar, charge the Greek house (far distance)

 On the Red right, the column got over the shock of the mortar fire and moved forward as fast as it could, and mortar fire effectiveness reduced. They also got their gun unlimbered and began to shell the Greeks sheltering in and around a small house on this far flank. The Red armoured car pushed forward and got onto the flank of the Greek position, its machine gun enfilading them and causing them to keep their heads down and suppressed their fire while the Red artillery opened up.

Meanwhile, in the centre, a first Red assault on the centre house had only just been beaten off by the Greek 3rd squad coming up from its rear/left flank  position and shooting down the attackers, but that left the Greek right flank open, and the Red left column, seeing this, started to swing troops around this flank where they could get into the Greek rear while they massed their reserves for another assault on the house.

With their Kommissar waving the Red flag, the Reds charged again, and reached the house, and vicious hand to hand combat and point blank shooting ensued. But the Greeks got lucky - amidst this turmoil, the Greek Lieutenant coolly took aim with his pistol, and shot the Kommissar dead (seriously lucky dice!). With this, one of the Russian squads turned tail and fled. The Greeks were saved again. But more Red reserves were now in position, their machine guns were chattering and casualties were still mounting in the pinned Greek position. On the Red right the Greeks were barely holding on, and the Red left their squads were steadily penetrating forward to get around into the Greek rear.

Things were looking very tight.....but then, with Greek flag flying, Evzones were running out the woods in the Greek rear towards the centre building, and a fusillade of shots crashed into the massing Red forces. The Greek captain was leading his small HQ squad, and a squad of newly arrived French troops forward, and their shooting drove off the Reds. Greek casualties around the house had been  high, but the Reds were now much higher. The frontal assault had failed, the Kommissar was dead - but what about the flank attacks - could the Reds still take the village from the flanks?

Greek flag flying, Evzones and French poilu pour fire into Red forces attacking the beleagured Greeks in the village centre house 

The Reds had by now wiped out the last of the Greek resistance to their right column, and were getting ready to advance onto the Greek centre. The Reds were also increasingly probing behind the Greek positions on their left, forcing the Greek mortar crew to retire to safety.

At this point though, the Greeks had another huge stroke of luck - the fates decreed that not only would a second French squad come to their aid, but that it would be a squad of the formidable Legion Etrangere. These moved rapidly to counter the probing Red troops, and made short work of those Reds, and then silenced one of the Red machine guns

 The Legion to the rescue. The Red left hand column has been beaten to a halt.

At this point the rules stoped the game on bound 6 Reds decided to make a strategic withddrawal, as their victorious right hand column had still taken major casualties and was now facing the fresh French Poilu, their main central assault had been beaten back with losses, while their depleted reserves and right column was now caught between Greeks in the centre house, and a rapidly advancing Legion. The Russian commander ordered the armoured cars to make a rapid forward foray to sow discord into the Alled rear and spoil any pursuit, vowing "I'll be back!".

I'll be Back! The Red commander calls off the attack - for now

Before anyone writes to complain about the Legion, Poilu and Evzones in the same village, I must explain that we were interested in trying out the Bolt Action WW2 rules for the Russian Civil War, so we also wanted to test out all the various troops' grades. The Reds had c 50% more troops but they were rated raw (though enthusiastic), led by passionate Officers and Commissars and backed up by trained heavy weapons units. The French poilu were average but unenthusiastic (which is why the Greek captain led them into the fray!), the Evzones were tough veterans, and the Legion was, well, the Legion. 

The game was fast paced, the rules worked well, and we got a believable result in an evening. A Red "human wave" assault very, very nearly worked, as if they had taken teh central house the Greeks would have been broken. The Greeks in the central house passing a key morale test, the Kommissar being shot, and half the raw troops in the assault force running away, was what this game pivoted on. By the time the Reds had massed again, the Greeks in the house had rallied themselves and French troops were arriving. Strong houses defended by good troops and a heavy machine gun are a tough thing to take!

Bolt Action uses dice rather than the Mud & Blood cards, they have fewer options on a dice than cards and you can choose which unit to activate, rather than M&B which designates many activations so it is a bit more predictable than Mud & Blood (good) but you don't get the amazing "fog of war plus serendipity" effect that makes M&B such fun (bad ). We've played a few more Bolt Action games since,  which I'll write up when I have time.

The Red's propaganda battle reoprt is over here, with loads more pictures - but in Hungarian :-) 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Venn I medt Diss Axe

In late 2012 1757 the Reichsarmee brigade of the Corps du Vin had settled down into winter quarters in three key crossroad towns bordering the Hesse-Lands and now, in the spring of 1758 had resumed campaigning. Instead of sending the brigade marching up and down the borders of the various Hesses to Look For The Prussians,  they resorted instead to sending out patrols from the 2 cavalry regiment with them - the Sarkozy Hussars and Saxe Märchen's own Leib Dragoons, commanded by the venerable warhorse the Graf Malthus, on his venerable warhorse. It was faster and cheaper on shoe leather that way, reasoned Duke Leopold, O.C of all the Saxe-Märchen forces in the brigade, as he helped himself to a second large slice of torte and eyed the barmaid's charms. These Hessian gals  cut their dirndls a lot lower than back home, he thought approvingly

There was only so much poetry Young Werther could read, and only so much yearning after unrequited love he could do in a day, so he started riding on various patrols with the cavalry.

On one of these, he fell into step with the gruff old Graf Malthus, and asked how the Graf had come to fight with Marshal de Saxe, whom the Graf revered.

"Vell", said the Graf, "I Voss yoost a junk man, mit my first kommand..I vill tell you how I choined the cavalry, but zat iss vor an otter day. It voss inder Lost Var, in '41"

(We translate the rest of this talk into high German rather than the Baron's Saxon, for your better understanding)

"....anyway, about meeting de Saxe. It happened like this. In 1741, my squadron was brigaded with some other Saxon cavalry squadrons, and we, along with some other Saxon and Reichsarmee troops, had joined the French and Bavarians in Bohemia to attack the Austrians. One day it was decided that our cavalry unit had to help take and occupy some town from the Austrians, to control some major crossroad or other. I can't recall what its name was, there was so much marching and countermarching. Anyway, our cavalry unit and some other German infantry regiments were detailed, along with 2 French Brigades, to take the town. I think the idea was the Germans would then occupy it. So we set off, but when we got near it we saw hare was a fairly large Austrian force in the vicinity. The French General set up in battle array, we were originally on the far left but then they spotted a huge force of Austrian cavalry on our right, so we were switched to the right, in the second line"

The French centre opens up on the Austrians in the village. If this looks a little blurred, you try drawing a sketch in a Montgolfier Mk.1 on a windy day...

Herr Graf smiled through his huge moustache.

"They thought we weren't very good, you see, a bit...risky. The front line were all Royal regiments - Burgundy, Roussillon, some of the Gendarmes, haughty as anything. It was just us and the Fleury in the 2nd Line"

"No sooner had we heard the first cannons fire, than the Austrian cavalry came cantering straight at us. Our first line charged at them, yelling all the way, and then next thing we knew they were all galloping back towards us, howling in panic. Our Rittermeister held us together, and as the scared Frenchies routed past we saw Austrians coming straight at us. So we spurred our horses and charged, and that surprised the Kaiserliks, and we bounced them back hard. Then another unit charged us, and we fought it off but had to retire to reform  And then all hell broke loose, as the whole Austrian cavalry force came at us, those haughty French nobles having run ..."

The Cavalry battle on the right is developing, French lines bottom of picture. Herr Graf's unit is in the French 2nd line, bottom right behind road. The cavalry in red are French Gendarmes, fighting Austrian cuirassiers. The Arquebusiers de Bergerac hold the woods bottom right corner.

The Graf spat in the road....

"...having all run away, leaving it to us to hold off hordes of Austrians. Next thing we see is some French popinjay in Gendarme red galloping past us, with some Austrians in hot pursuit, wailing for his life. My squadron wheeled, we saw off the Austrians, and then this lad - couldn't have been more than your age Werther - white and quaking with fear - squeaked - "take me to Headquarters, now! I command you!". We saw our lads were now beating a fighting retreat so we beat our own, smartly, delivering this cocky princeling to the headquarters tent."

The Graf smiled again, wryly

"It was pandemonium. The French general was spitting blood. Apparently our own German forces on the left had done nothing except despatch some Hussars and Dragoons round the far left flank, the French centre had refused to advance to take the town until "the cannons had softened up the Austrians in the town enough" and the Austrians, seeing their cavalry on our far right was triumphant on the field, had now launched a mass attack on our right wing. The general was yelling for his reserves, two battalions of grenadiers, to deploy against a hill and prevent the Austrian horse from arriving on their flank, while our right was soon in a massive firefight with the Austrians".

The Graf stopped his tale to bark an order at two orderlies, who shot off to do his bidding.

"Now then, where was I? Ah yes. Well, turns out one of the Grenadier battalions was German, and was not being as prompt as the General would have liked. As we arrived, the Red Popinjay had made a great histrionic show, but the General ignored him, and looked at me. "You" he barked. "In the Saxon uniform. You look halfway intelligent! Do you speak German?"

"Me? Ja! Er - Yes"

"Well, go and tell those !"£$% German grenadiers to "!£$5 up their £$%^& paces and !"£$%^ get up on the "£$%6 ridge and shoot the *&^%$ kaiserlik horse boys, and don't you come back until they are there and shooting. And tell their "£$%^& Colonel if he doesn't £$%^& shoot Austrians I'll "£$%^&  shoot him! Then come back here when he is there. Got that?"

"I galloped off to relay the message to the Herr Kolonel, who £$%^& off as fast as he ^&* could - just in time, as the Austrian horse swept over the hill and down, already sabred one French battalion, and was forming up for a charge into the rear of the French right, now furiously engaged to the front. Then we and the French Grenadiers marched out the smoke and hit them at point blank range with fresh musketry.  The Austrian front line fell in droves, and the rest ran like dogs. Their second line pulled back, they were not going to chance their luck against formed Grenadiers."

The Graf paused, a faraway look in his eye

"At that point, as I was picking my way through dead Austrian cavalry to get back to the French HQ,  this Austrian rides up over the rise with a white flag, bold as brass, and says to me to fetch the Marshal, he wants a word. I gallop back and fetch the Marshal. So there I am on the hilltop, as these two men meet, while our Grenadiers and the Austrian cuirassiers eye each other up and our right flank is still in a furious firefight to our front.

"You're not going to win this one, Marshal", says the Austrian. "And the cost to me of winning it will be too high. It’s getting late, why don't we cease fire now, you take your forces back and try again tomorrow, eh?, Or next week, at the speed you lot move".

The Marshal looks at the Austrian and says "Very well, we shall do that". and then they laughed, shook hands, and both rode away to their armies. They both stop shooting and start to pack up withdraw to their boxes camps"

"My God" says Werther" "I've never heard of that"

"And nor will you" said the Graf. "Only a few men witnessed it. I think de Saxe wrote it up as making a heroic effort against vastly superior forces and berating his sub geneerals"

Anyway, this Marshall looks at me and says "you - that was smartly done. I could use a smart German speaker on my staff to make the rest of these Germans move as sharply. Go and tell that useless old Hochduke of yours I want you to join my staff for a bit, and if he argues I'll have his hide for cowardice and disobeying orders"

"My heavens", said Werther, "Who was this Marshall"

"Haff you not guessed by now" chortled the old Graf. "Dot vos Diss Axe".

"And who was the young man you rescued"

"Ach, some Prinz of the Blood" said the Graf. "Odious fellow, but none more so on that day, he had sh*t his pants"

And at this, the Gruff Graf actually laughed. 

"And did you take the village then" said Werther?

"Verdamnt iff I can remember" said the Graf. "Propably nott, zeere were szo many battles like zat. I fing der Allies loszt a big battle und ve hadt to run back to Bavaria soon after".

(Black Powder rules, War of Austrian Succession, using last Argument of Kings army lists. French have to take 2 poor generals, and neither managed to make much happen all game, my entire strategy was ruined by my su generals, its in my report :). The French 1st line horse, despite all being Royal, had abysmal dice, all 3 regiments routing in first combat. The Graf's German cavalry regiment held its own for a few bounds and was then forced to retire off table by waves of Austrian horse. The Austrian horse was held back by the grenadiers, the firefight on the right wing was showing no advantage, French condede the field. We had c 16 infantry battalions and 6 cavalry regimenst apiece, on a 9x 6 table, we finished the game to a good conclusion in about 2 1/2 hours despite being new to the rules. Pretty impressed with them for this period.)

Monday, 1 April 2013

The Real French & Indian Wars

Haven't posted for a while, but that is because much has been happening on the gaming front - Sci Fi, WW! and WW2, and of course 18th Century warfare.

In the 18th century we have moved to playing "Real" French & Indian Wars, i.e The French & the British with the Rajputs and the Moghuls and anyone else we can rope in, using Black Powder for some big games. The variety of forces is huge (and we have been painting huge forces), and all the fast moving cavalry, various odd weapons, plus variable leadership and lots of inconsistent troops make the games unpredictable and exciting. Here are some pictures of some forces and games:

Moghul Cavalry, the man front left has clearly jast been shot off his horse!

One of our games - the French line (bottom) thought themselves safe from the Indian cavalry (top, centre) owing to their guns (centrre bottom), but did not count on the Hand of Fate (left) decreeing that there will be a dreaded Black Powder 3 move charge of lancers and wild horse into the raw French Sepoys (white turbans, bottom). Ouch! 


Real Indian Warfare also has wild tribesmen who will lop your head off, albeit with a wider variety of weapons than a tomahawk - but also has rockets, camel-guns, medieval cavalry, elephants, and a large assortment of colourful and motley infantry from trained European line to hordes fighting for loot. Above, left: Dare-to-die Rathor light horse prepare to charge rocket-men on a hill

Camel-Guns take aim (left, middle)) as the Rathors charge over the hill at the Thin Red Line in the distance while in the foreground Rajput horse moves up,

The Thin Red Line stands awaiting the onslaught