Our game was a little different. Martin has Marshal Lefebvre's corps based for Shako... since that's Martin's family name as well. My wife, Beth, can field Eugene's Italians with some Rheinbund auxiliaries. Andy is working on a batch of French. Me? Well, I can pick from Austrians (my favourite), Swedes, and British. I have American who can double as either Belgians or Portuguese in a pinch. I'm working on French, Prussians, and Russians, but none of those can stand alone yet.
And I have Ottoman Turks... lots of 'em... which met the French/Italians on the table Saturday.
Beth, Martin, and Brian ran the Franco-Italian army while the Grand Vizir Andy, Bear Pasha, and myself fielded the Turks. Andy and I decided early on that our strategy would be simple and un-subtle: We'd charge everything, hell-bent-for-leather - a proper Ottoman strategy, I felt. We fielded 4 massive divisions (as per the Ottoman indosyncratic rule in Shako II) while the Franco-Italian Imperials had about 8+ divisions. In Shako II, each "division" rolls for initiative and then moves and accoding to it's initiative number.
The game was fun. The table was pretty flat and had no forests and just a few hills with two village areas. Since this was supposed to be Syria or somewhere there-abouts, this seemed right.
|A brigade of my wife's Italians (NOT Neapolitans - perish the thought!)|
She's done the bulk of the painting of these guys herself. I count myself lucky.
This is how SHE wanted to spend Valentine's day!
|Turkish cavalry - Djellis, provincial Sipihis, and Mamluks (the four units closest to the camera)|
Minifigs, Essex, and Old Glory, mixed together in some units.
The ground cloth was actually a sandy tan although it doesn't show up that way in the photos
|The centre of the Franco-Italian expeditionary force with Italian cavalry (Gendarmes, dragoons, Gendarmes d'elite and cacciatori a cavallo/light horse) plus Italian and French infantry.|
|My division's infantry and cavalry.|
Greek Martalos skirmishers followed by Nizam-i-Cedit regulars (with bayonets no less!)
Provincial Sipihis with Yoruks and Djellis beyond.
Vizir Andy and I ran our cavalry forward, all fast and furious. Bear Pasha demonstrated toward the small settlement which was held by Brian and a brigade of dismounted dragoons. Artillery on both sides first jockeyed for position then pounded the other side. Andy had two heavy gun and I had two medium foot guns, so we formed a grand battery of sorts atop the hill that lay between our divisions. I also had a "reserve" on the far left flank made up of Mamluks, Djellis, and provincial Sipihis. I didn't use these guys as a reserve but galloped toward Beth's one Italian brigade which promptly formed squares. Stupidly, I charged them anyway with the Mamluks and lost two regiments with a third thrown back. It seemed the Ottoman thing to do.
|Italian Gardes d'Honour|
|Here they come! A rather energetic photo of the charge of the Sipihis.|
|Mamluks and Djellis|
|Prince Eugene watches the ebb and flow of the battle. With so much cavalry, it was fast moving.|
The skirmishers in front of him evaded the cavalry charge of some scumy Yoruks who came apart quickly before Italian regulars.
|A different angle of the same situation.|
My cavalry splashed against Beth's and Martin's infantry and either vaporized or fell back for the most part. It was different for Andy. His Shillitar horse guards - armoured lancers with guard morale - charged two French cuirassier regiments and threw them back. Andy also had some better quality "Sipihis of the Porte", so his cavalry made a great hole in the Allied line between Martin and Brian. Some of Bear's cavalry performed equally well, throwing back the Polish Lancers of the Guard. There's a medal or a unit citation in there for someone!
|As the Melee continues, the Italian Gardes d'Honour turn the flank of some sipihis to turn them into cottage cheese.|
|Meanwhile my "Reserve" column of Djellis and provincial sipihis has turned the corner and hit a horse battery in the flank. More cottage cheese ensued.|
When the time bell rang (as it were; we don't really have a time bell. Beth had to get home since she is the stage manager of a local theatre production. The weather was iffy and "white-outs" were possible, so we had to watch our time.), Kevin who was watching and was an "uninterested" party gave the game to the Franco-Italians. My "reserve" division was broken but Andy and Bear had slapped around Martin's cavalry and had driven deep into the Franco-Italian line. Another turn or two, the Ottoman infantry would've come into play. The Turks outnumbered the Franco-Italians, but the opposite was true when it came to quality. Most of the Turk infantry and about half of the cavalry was second rate at best. Had we had time for another turn or two, things might have been different. But Kevin rightly declared it a marginal victory for Napoleon and company, from the way things stood at the time of cerfew.
It felt SO good to put Napoleonics on the table again. I didn't expect the Ottomans to win but they can make the enemy sweat and they're colourful as all get out. I think I can put together more British for a Penninsular campaign game or maybe a 100 Days game. I'd like to get the Austrians out of their boxes as well. This is still my favourite gaming period. As usual, we had some "I-don't-remember-the-rules-because-we-play-them-so-rarely" problems but nothing we couldn't iron out.
Trouble is... I want to play Napoleonics again! And soon!
|Where my charge met the Italian troops in column and where the Gardes d'Honour flanked and destroyed some of my cavalry.|
|The right hand colum of my "reserve" after facing the horse gun but before they foolishly threw themselves at Italian dragoons and Gendarmes d'elite. Mostly Djellis and provincial Sipihis.|
|Martin, Brian, Kevin, Bear, and Andy look the field over as Kevin makes his opinion/judgement on the thing.|
|The cavalry battle got more and more confusing... and more and more fun!|
|The last of my Mamluks keep a wary eye on the Italian squares. My attack orders lean on the division commander's stand off to the right.|
The plan for next week is a "Swap Meet" and some board games. Beth and I will bring things like Carcassone, Ticket to Ride, and Cheating Moth. I also heard Guillotine mentioned. We'll see what games come in and what goodies come to be swapped.