Please note I will not be hosting any Public events from 31st January 2023. Nothing too drastic from our side, just need a break.

I’ll be providing updates when we’re back, here and on my social media platforms.

Thank you for all the custom and friendship this has brought me to date.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon, both new and old customers.

A couple of weeks ago a Gentleman from west London contacted me about the possibility of running a one day game. Usually I only run battles over a weekend, however the group of guys he had in mind were all seasoned veterans and he was keen to get a chance of a game at the centre. Their “club” games are generally held on a Monday night, with some of the best looking figures a General could ask for.

The charge home from Klein's Heavy Cavalry

The French advance to assault the Russian centre.

So why would they want to come along to the Wargames Holiday Centre? Well their Table isn’t quite as long and isn’t quite as wide, they also don’t have as many figures, so they wanted to get a big game, on a bigger table and with thousands and thousands of figures.

The view of the centre of the battlefield, Serpallen is to the far left.

So, what to play? I suggested Marengo at first but this is a game of manoeuvre with a lot less figures, great game, but more for the 8-10 numbers of players. Leipzig would be too big!

Then the suggestion of a “what if” came about, take the battlefield of Eylau, move it three months on instead of Friedland there could be a battle there without the snow. Then to throw a little more weight behind the Russians, how about the Guard being available. Sounds good to me, over a hundred battalions of Russians, a similar number of French infantry. Lots of French and Russian Heavy cavalry and quite a few batteries of artillery.

Wurtemmburg Garde du Corps.

Moving in column of march, the bearskins are a neat conversion.

Well when could we fit it in? I had a weekend booked for Austerlitz which had little takers, it was Mothers day and this seemed to put you dutiful boys off, as well it should! This seemed okay for these chaps though, I think the pressies and calls to Mother had all been done and dusted by the day of choice. I know I had!

The French advance.

So eight divisions of Russian infantry with attached cavalry and artillery along with the reserve cavalry corps under Price Galitzin, faced nine divisions of French infantry, four divisions of heavy cavalry and the Guard.

Russian Hussars head to the Russian left flank.

Some of Galitzin's cavalry.

The defensive plan for the Russians was to array the entire Russian line from east to west from the villages of Serpallen to Schloditten. The Cavalry Corps and the Russian Guard were held in reserve and released on a die roll of 5,6 and 6 respectively on a d6 at the beginning of each turn.

The French deployed three divisions of Soults corps from Opposite Serpallen to Preussich – Eylau, supported by the Cuirassier division, Wathier’s Light division and Klein’s Dragoon division. Further west the corps of Augerau deployed, Grouchy and Lasalle forming their support. The French Imperial Guard were held in reserve with the Guard cavalry and were released on turns 5 and 3 respectively.

The Russian lights move out to stop the French Heavies.

The game started with a huge cannonade along the whole front, the French began to advance along a broad front right in to the teeth of the Russian Gun line. Davout would arrive on the roll of a die and the further North they came on, the number required increased. Turn two saw the first French Divisions arrive on the flank though, Friant arriving behind the Russian line, heading straight for the support of Serpallen. Friant’s division was quickly followed by Gudin arriving just south of Friant along with the Light cavalry division of Davout’s III Corps.

Davout's flanking manoeuvre.

The defenders of Serpallen gritted their teeth and began to open up on the advancing troops of Legrand’s division. Shortly after the arrival of Davout the Russian Guard was released and seven battalions of the Russian’s best troops began to march along the roads heading for the eastern wing of the Russian army.

The village of Serpallen.

In the centre the divisions of St. Hilaire and Leval marched steadily toward the defenders of the Russian centre and the ridge line west of Serpallen.

Some of the Russian defenders.

Russian line, figures from Elite miniatures and the flags from GMB.

To the far west the Light cavalry division of Lasalle’s poured across the stream and engaged the hordes of Cossack sotnias swarming on to the plain from the west. After a few turns of intense fighting the cavalry had been seen off and the Russians began to advance on to the divisions of Augerau’s Corps.

The Russians await the French from Augerau's Corps.

Augerau’s men had already suffered at the hands of the Russian artillery and the French felt that the opportunity to turn the French left was too great to miss. Three divisions of Russian infantry set off from the defensive line, their divisional cavalry attempting to keep the Dragoons of Grouchy at bay.

French Infantry figures in foreground are from Connoisseur Miniatures.

The village of Serpallen erupted into a hot bed of fire and melee, the Russians, fearing the flanking force had limited supports for the village and eventually it fell to the troops of Legrand’s division. The French occupiers then began to pour fire into the Russians causing more of them to retreat. A new defensive line needed to be drawn up and quick.

Grouchy's Dragoons

The Russians in the centre sent reports that the French Guard was now moving to attack the Russian line just west of the ridge of Serpallen.

More of Groughy's Dragoons in the centre of the battlefield.

The battery defending this area had been overrun and the French were advancing freely. The Russian division behind this battery stepped forward and began to remove the guns, their intent to close with the French Guard at the point of the bayonet. On the right flank of this division the Cavalry corps of Prince Galitzin was emerging, the French Guard, seeing the Russian Cuirassier regiments hastily formed square. Now was the time for the Russian infantry, get them while they were pinned in squares!

Galitzin's Cavalry

The struggle for the ridge at Serpallen drew only the best of society.

Davout began to pour on the pressure, all the III Corps was now on the table, lined out and pouring volley after volley into the luckless Russians. The Russian Guard formed up and began to advance into the teeth of this maelstrom, the Guard Cavalry supporting them charging headlong into the deployed French Lines, crashing through some of them!

The view of the ridge heading West to Serpallen.

The defenders of Serpallen had now fallen back further North, the Russian divisions attempting to reform, however each time this was attempted the French either charged them with their Light cavalry or fired murderous volleys into the milling masses.

Russian Uhlans from Prince Galitzin's Corps move into the middle of the Russian line.

The Russians on the far right continued their advance while the troops of Augerau’s Corps formed a new defensive line south of the stream. Now it was the Russians turn to suffer at the hands of the artillery, great swathes were cut through some of the battalions, still they trudged forward!

The Wurttemburg Garde du Corps, moving onto the French right flank.

In the centre, the Russian division had just clearing the debris from the battery when the first volley from the Old Guard tore into them, one of the lead battalions immediately dropped to fifty percent strength!

The Russians begin to feel the pressure on their left flank to the East.

The other two lead battalions suffered twenty to thirty percent casualties, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. No, they were committed now, Galitzins cavalry put in a charge which was repelled, the supporting Cuirassier squadron left in the open took fire for another two turns before retiring. Finally the Russians had an opportunity to get a charge onto the Guard line, four ranks deep, the Cuirassier could still break the line with consumate ease, as long as their morale held! The charge was declared, the Old Guard tested…….RETREAT!

The troops in the centre attempt to pin the French in place.

Now was the time, the charge from the Cuirassier took them through the supporting line, this now being only two deep and unformed. The firing phase couldn’t come quick enough for the Russians, this could swing the battle!

Guardsmen fro the Ismailovski and Preobrajenski regiments

The Leib regiment of the Russian Guard along with the Semionovski regiment.

The time came, the French player paused, rolled the d10 for distance and got a “0” short range, wow this would go to the wire, the roll for effect……11, uh oh! The cuirassier squadron now needed a score of 13 on three d6…..nine!!! “TURN and Flee” the result! The Guardsmen had saved their name!

Russian Guard.

This was pretty much the last throw of the game. The Russians had left it a little too late to counter attack and the gun battery in the centre had caused more problems to the defenders than the attackers! The Russian Guard was taking heavy casualties and had been pinned quite successfully by Davout and the retreating Russians from Serpallen.

All in all a great day, the honours were shared on both sides with some real die hard fights for control of Serpallen and the surrounding area. The Russians to the west were now looking to extricate themselves with minimal loss, while their cavalry covered the retreat!

A stirring French victory, my thanks to the participants from London.

Good morning chaps,

I wanted to provide you all with an update, I have had quite a few questions recently regarding the Wargames Holiday Centre. I wanted to address some of these if I may.

The Centre is open all year round, I provide scheduled battles as advertised that clubs or individuals can book a place on. A lot of the Generals attending over the years have been individuals, maybe more of them than clubs to be fair, making new friends from the like minded individuals they meet here. There is no problem if you wanted to come along alone or with your friends, you can be on different sides or on the same side, the choice is yours.

The weekends are not the be all and end all of what we offer, I am hosting an Ancients campaign weekend later this year, there are a couple of clubs booking the centre for the day during the week to play out some of their own big battles.

Over the last year I have had clubs book up the entire weekend, change the game they want to play, ignoring what was on the calendar, some even changed the period. The General de Brigade guys are prime examples of this, bringing their own rules system and club members along to the Borodino weekend and doing it their way!

Some more events in the future will be the campaign weeks that will be on offer. New to the calendar will be the Siciliy campaign, set during the allied invasion of Sicily it incorporates the political aspect of whether the Italians will capitulate early, or change sides? If the German players show a good deal of success will Hitler provide them with additional support in order to crush the invasion?

There will be the notional race for Messina between the Allies, will the British or American get there first? There’s also the aspect of the full spectrum of WWII scenarios with Beach assaults, air drops and tank battles all will be played out over a five day extravaganza. We have a large map being prepared in order to facilitate all the action for both sides!

As for the troops, we have the full range of Italian, German, British and American troops available! It should be fantastic!

There will also be a Napoleonic Campaign week in September, last year the 1808 Peninsular War proved a great success, this year the 1812 campaign will be the feature. Up to fourteen individuals will be coming together to re-fight the battles of 1812.

Due to the battles being linked the winner of the preliminary battles dictates which battles are fought next, the casualties being carried forward where applicable. There have been several of these campaign weeks in the past and they have all proved to be very popular, so much so that we have only two places left this year.

When you come along to the Wargames Holiday Centre you need bring no gaming equipment at all, I provide all the gaming tools, the figures and the table. I have even sorted out an incredible deal with a local three star hotel in order to allow you to get the best out of your gaming event. No herding of cats, no lengthy setups, no clearing all the tables and terrain away afterwards, just play the games you enjoy. I’ll even throw in club concessions.

So hopefully this will have cleared up some of the questions, all you need to do now is book up to refight your favourite battles.

See you soon.

On Friday the 3rd March a whole family of Brothers and a son/nephew took on members of the Newbury and Reading Wargames club in a hum-dinger of a battle! Three brothers and one son took up the sword on behalf of the Allied empires, while the Newbury and Reading boys looked to defend one of Napoleons largest supply depot’s in Saxony.

Gross Garten before the occupation.

If the French lost the battle it could really scupper the plans of the Little Corporal, while the Allies failure could result in the Monarchs being brought to the table to discuss a treaty.

Gross Garten the view from the south east.

So with it all to play for the combatants took up their positions. The Allies had a deployment restriction where they had to deploy at least one of their Army Corps on the western side of the stream which traversed the entire width of the battlefield from south to North. Apart from this they were free to deploy.

The Participants.

A moment of tanquility, and a bit of banter

The Prussians under Kleist were deployed west of the stream, moving from left to right, Colloredo was next, behind them on the heights were the Guards, both Prussian and Russian. Further along to the Allied right in front of the Gross Garten was the Russian combined Grenadier division, deployed in Line. Deployed behind these was the Russian division of Gortschakov and to their right was Witgenstein all under the command of Barclay de Tolly.

Gortschakov's troops.

Figures are from Wargames Foundry, a bit bigger than the original figures these new ones are in keeping with the other 28mm’s

More Russians from the Centre’s Front Rank collection.

Further to the right and moving North were the remaining Austrian formations of Gyulai and Chasteler right behind them to the east. The Austrian reserve commanded by Chasteler comprised the finest troops the Austrian’s had to offer with their combined grenadier battalions and regiments of Cuirassier.

Austrian Line from Gyulai's Corps.

The Austrian reserve cavalry.

The Austrian Cuirassier.

Opposing these the French had three line corps, two cavalry corps, Teste’s division, the Dresden Garrison and the Imperial Guard. The stream formed the right flank for the French over to the west, Teste and the Garrison were ordered to defend the stream area occupying the villages on the Northern most part of the table and lining the stream. The Prussians would have their work cut out getting across this! Opposite Colloredo and the Russian Divisions in the French centre Marmont deployed his Corps with St.Cyr to protect the centre, on the French left Marshal Victor deployed his corps opposing the Austrian masses.

Carabinier from Pajol's Corps.

In the Gross Garten the divisions of the Young Guard took up residence.

Young Guard take up position.

These are actually Bicorne miniatures Middle Guard. Too nice to leave on the shelf though!

Most of the guys were experienced wargamers although only a few had used the “In the Grand Manner” rules, so we took it easy to start, talking our way through each move phase by phase.

The Gentlemen protagonists.

The battle takes place on the second day of the real battle, so Napoleon has arrived as have his Guard, the Allies are committed and deployed and it’s raining, only lightly, but it’s wet! The Drums beat and the Allies set off, the Russian Grenadier division headed for the Gross Garten supported by Wittgenstein and Gortschakov, Colloredo advanced in the centre, Kleist’s Prussians flooded across the plains west of the stream, heading toward Gorbitz, Teste’s division occupied the village of Friedrichstadt and advanced a couple of battalions west to occupy the outlying village on the Northern most area of this sector.

Map of the battlefield.

In the East, Gyulai’s Austrians advanced on Victor, the outlying village was occupied and the Hungarian infantry set about loop holing the position in case of French counter attack. Chasteler advanced his Cuirassier regiments and the Grenadiers advanced toward the eastern sector of Dresden to further support Gyulai’s men.

The Russian Hussars advanced at the trot to ascertain just who was occupying the Gardens, fire from twio batteries of French artillery soon sent them running for cover however but not before they saw the pennants of the Young Guard. This was going to be a tough job and the Russian Grenadiers were the men to perform this grisly work.

The start of the fight for the Gardens.

The first clash was the cavalry of Gortschakov and St.Cyr’s light cavalry, the French got the better of the initial engagement, both retiring to lick their wounds. The Russian Grenadiers began to close on the Gardens.

Pavlov Grenadiers

On the Allied right Gyulai’s men came under fire from a horse battery and Victors foot battery, it was decided that a full frontal cavalry charge would be the order of the day and a hussar regiment galloped forward to deal with these threats.

Battery position, redoubt L4.

Infantry from Gyulai's corps outside the village await the cavalry doing their job.

The Austrian 12 pdrs were unlimbered to pour fire into Victors Corps and the defenders of the Gross Garten. The rain turned heavy however and due to the lack of visibility the Austrian Hussars had to continue their advance in order to see the targets. Fire from the Gross Garten was desultory with only a few casualties in the Grenadier Division. The infantry of Colloredo’s corps advanced steadily into the teeth of the artillery from Marmont’s Corps and the position artillery in redoubt L4, they couldn’t see each other as the rain had increased, but each knew the other was there! Kleist urged his troops on, the dark masses of the Prussians flooded across the Plains, some fire came from the isolated buildings and casualties were recorded on the lead elements of the light cavalry.

Gyulai assault.

The rain poured down, visibility was down to 24″ and the assault on the Gross Garten continued unabated. The Grenadier Division, it’s battalion columns lined out in front of Gortschakov’s division were holding their first volley until they got within charge distance. The Young Guard Tirraileurs had nine of it, they let rip a vlley into the lead battalions and the casualties mounted, the Russians took two such volleys then with a mighty Hurrah let off their own first volley, only a few Tirrailleurs fell though and the Grenadiers crashed into the walls. All the work now would be at the point of the bayonet! Rouget’s Young Guard took the brunt of the assault, Gorschakov’s battalions urged on by Barclay threw themselves into the fray, after three rounds of melee the Russians fell back, regrouped and went again! Charging headlong into the volleys from the Young Guard, more Russian Grenadiers fell, young Musketeers stepping over their comrades and adding their weight to the fray!

The Young Guard defend the Gardens to the last.

The Austrian Dragoons under Gyulai manoeuvred into two deep line and steadied themselves for the charge, their comrades the Hussars retired in some disorder back to their own lines after being decimated by the French fire.

French Line

Fine figures from Elite Miniatures.

Austrian Light infantry.

Figures from elite Miniatures.

An isolated building just to the east of redoubt L2 was housing some French Voltigeurs and the 32nd infantry regiment was sent to capture it, the fire from the Horse battery along with the 12pdr’s in the redoubt decimated the regiment, to the point that they refused to charge the building once they got in range. They soon came back!

Dragoons of Gyulai's Corps.

The Austrian Lines were moving steadily through the wooded area east of the Landgraben, crossing the ditch just as the trumpets sounded and the Dragoons walked forward, the first volley from the French took many infantry down and the fire from the horse and foot batteries emptied many of the saddles in the Dragoon regiment.

More of the Austrian Cuirassier.

Still their nerve held and they built up into the charge, on they rushed in the driving rain, the canister from the foot battery emptying still more saddles, then they were on the guns, smashing through the battery and on to the infantry in square beyond.

Gun Line east of Dresden.

A rally call was issued and they fell back, their work done.

Dead batteries

In the centre, Colloredo’s Austrians advanced into cansiter range of the guns, great swathes of infantry were cut down, but still the huge blocks of the Austrian infantry advanced. The drums beat and the charge went into the redoubt L4 and on to Marmont’s foot battery, more Austrians fell going in but they made short work of the gunners, cutting them all down to a man. The French infantry behind the guns lined out, preparing to deliver some retribution for the cut down of their colleagues.

Colloredo advances.

The Prussians seemed to be having their own trials, the isolated buildings were proving to be a real thorn in the side, pot shots at the cavalry, combined with the supporting fire of the 12pdr battery in redoubt L5, saw off the lead battalion of Prussian Musketeers which caused no amount of problems for the supporting battalions.
They soon sorted themselves out though and came on again, determined to take these troublesome buildings at the bayonet. Their batteries of artillery deployed on the west side of the stream and began to pour fire into the French in and around the redoubt L5.

Gyulai begins to move out after the guns are destroyed.

The focal point now became the Gross Garten as it did historically, the rain had only abated for one turn, with the heavy rain continuing for three consecutive turns meaning that any musketry in the open had effectively ceased.

Gortschakov, assaults the gardens again!

On came the troops in Gortschakov’s division, the Grenadiers had reformed behind them and moved in to support them. The South Eastern garden fell, the Tirailleurs and Voltigeurs from Decouz’s Young Guard division streaming back through the rest of the Gardens.

The Young Guard routing toward Dresden.

The Russians however were too exhausted to capitalise on this victory and still waited outside the garden reforming. The centre of the garden was a milling mess but still in French hands.

Charge of the 2nd Dutch Guard Lancers.

A Russian Grenadier battalion took the bold step of advancing into the garden, the French sent out voltigeurs to harry them and awaited the inevitable assault! Rouget’s men in the garden to the North west of this still hung on, Gortschakov and the Grenadier Division were severely mauled but the Young Guard must be in just as bad a state! One more effort! Bring up Wittgenstein’s men and Chasteler’s Austrian Grenadier division.

Wittgenstein moves up, you can see the Grenadiers in the Garden.

On the allied right Gyulai’s men crossed the Landgraben, Cuirassier from Chasteler’s reserve charged into the guns of the horse battery, cutting them down. The village was emptied as the Hungarian battalion issued forth in support of their comrades crossing the Landgraben. Victors troops stood resolute in their squares waiting the cavalry mass heading their way. The downpour continued!

Uhlan from Gyulai corps

French Horse Guns, just before the Austrian Cuirassier smashed them.

In the centre, some of the French reserve cavalry galloped out to deal with the Russian battery deployed at the foot of the slope, linking up with the 5th Hussars the 3rd Lancers of the line charged headlong into the gun line, canister took down the lead elements of the cavalry but on they thundered, straight into the guns, wiping out the battery. They were exhausted though and returned to own lines after this. The 5th had just fought a melee with Gorschakov’s hussars and caught up in their victory here had charged on to the guns.

Light charge guns.

Over behind Colloredo’s troops, the Allied Guard cavalry emerged out of the rain, galloping forward in support of the Austrian victors, this may well be the blow to break the line. As the Prussian Heavies neared the lines the Lancer de Berg regiment appeared out of the rain and galloped into a charge, bearing down on the Austrians reforming after the fight for the redoubt. Seeing this the Prussians sounded the charge and hurtled into the lancers!

The Lancers d'Berg move through the Foot artillery of the Guard to engage Colloredo.

The fight was short and sweet, the Lancers backed off as did the Prussian Heavies, out of the rain could also be seen the pennants of the 2nd regiment of the Imperial Guard’s Chevau Leger de Lancier, the Dutch Lancers. Things could get tricky for Colloredo without adequate cavalry support and the rest of the Guard cavalry was moving down the slope still a move away.

Guard Light Lancers and Lights move forward to stop the central attack.

The rain had continued for most of the game, the powder was wet, so the Austrians began forming square. No sooner had they done this then the cries of “Vive le Empereur” resounded from the French lines, out of the rain came the dreaded bearskins of the Guard, they crossed the abandoned guns, sporadic fire from the Austrians felled a few of the Grumblers but still they came!

The Old Guard attacks.

The Austrians were trying to retire on their cavalry and this had not proved easy, some of their battalions had suffered over forty percent casualties and had begun to retire, Marmont’s infantry had volleyed into their ranks and then charged the reforming battalions, who then turned at bay and fought the French to a standstill, the Guard may be just the straw to break the proverbial camels back though.

The fight for the Centre.

On the far side of the stream the Prussians had charged into the isolated buildings hunting down the light infantry defending them. Twice they charged and twice the French threw them back. The village to the west of Friedrichstadt was cleared by a Prussian battery pouring canister into the buildings, the defenders seeking the better part of valour had slipped out the back and were falling back on Friedrichstadt.

French Guard Advances.

The Allied right saw Gyulai’s men lined out and returning fire into the French defenders, the front battalion however panicked and retreated back across the Landgraben before rallying, Three squadrons of Cuirassier in successive lines smashed a French square, riding down the luckless battalion, the rest of the squares stood firm though and the Cuirassier retired out of harms way.

Austrian Grenadiers move up.

Meanwhile back in the Garden the Austrian and Hungarian Grenadier battalions had deployed and now advanced on the defenders of the Eastern garden. On through the driving rain, supported by the troops of Wittgenstein’s division they ploughed on through the gardens. Stopping at effective range to deliver a shattering first volley then to cries of “Vorwarts” they charged into the remaining Tirailleurs of Decouz’s Young Guard. The Russians were stopped again, but the Austrian Grenadiers broke in! Fierce hand to hand fighting ensued with the French finally breaking, only half the Gardens had been captured and at what cost!

Chasteler's reserve moves

The French still held their exit routes, the Allies had tried in vain to break into the Gross Garten, while the Russian Guard were intact the rest of the army had lost a lot of men and the majority of the French cavalry was still in good shape, only one French Cuirassier regiment having fought an Austrian Cuirassier regiment over near redoubt L1.

The Allies would have to retire on their lines of communication, the French held the vital supply depot and had most of their troops in good order. The Young Guard were hors de combat, this could be a problem in replacing these valuable troops but still the bulletin’s going to Paris would ring with the words “Victory”.

Out of a game lasting nearly twenty turns, the rain only stopped for two, the remainder was either light or heavy.

Great game with a great bunch of lads.

On to the next!