Black Powder Napoleonics Huge Table at Battlefield Hobbies

I've never really been a historical wargamer. I like mythology and ancient warfare but never really dabbled with anything 0AD to 1900's. So when the Warwickshire Gamers invited me to join in with their Napoleonic's game I wasn't my usual kid in a toy shop self. After hearing about the battle we intended to play, reading up on the Black Powder rules system by Warlord Games I started to get interested.

Muskets cry out, cannon roar and men hit the meat grinder!

I then went and watched all six episodes of War and Peace, a lovely period drama done by the BBC condensing Leo Tolstoy's famous novel into a screen worthy appearance. It really gives a feel for the setting, the way warfare was ran and the reliance on heavy cannon, line infantry and horse.

The defended outskirts of the town held by the French

Fast forward a bit and I found myself at the lovely Battlefield Hobbies in Daventry. The guys had given us space to set up a 15 foot by 6 foot table complete with rolling hills, farm houses and rolling countryside along with a river to ford and a town which was being defended by the French.

The scenario involved a Russian/Prussian attack on a French held town who had set up a defensive force across the river outside of town in the hills. They were being reinforced by two small bridges which really hindered the movement of the French foot. Meanwhile a small French force was holding the last bridge over the river protecting the left flank whilst some outlying skirmishers were holed up in the farmhouses surrounding the area.

The left flank facing off across the river holding the flank which would open the main forces up to an assault from the rear!

Turn one ensued and the Russian/Prussian forces marched headlong into cannon fire! Andy's force of German's marched straight into the heart of the enemy in a bold charge. His men held and were swiftly reinforced with fresh units making the French react and cut off supplies to the flanks to support the centre.

The left flank squares up after cavalry assault as the Prussian's are about to drive home the advantage in numbers!

Meanwhile the French right flank was playing cat and mouse between Hussars and skirmishers with no one grabbing a foothold either way. On the left French flank things were holding too. Across the outlying river the detachment of French were doing their very best to hold up forces moving to flank the main force. Unfortunately many more artillery pieces were brought to bear against them and they began to fall back and break.

Forces enter the field!

Then myself in dashing cavalry splendour led a charge into the French left flank forcing a line of infantry to assume the square. Disordered and shaken I had done my job and retired for a swift Brandy whilst the men of the Prussian brigade marched straight into and through the broken French left flank.

Sadly just as this pivotal event was unfolding nightfall fell upon the battlefield. The French retreating across the river to defend the small bridges which were the only entry into the town. I really enjoyed the Black Powder experience. An astonishing amount of effort from the Warwickshire Gamers for painting everything in 28mm. Here is a video of the entire 8 hour day in just 1 minute!

Craig McNicholas

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.