Back in 2007/2008 Dave and I were fortunate enough to be able to travel to the US and participate in Cold Wars. Apart from the obvious fun of seeing how US gamers held a convention and getting the chance to play in a wide range of games I was fortunate enough to play in one of Bruce Weigle’s ‘1870’ Franco Prussian games. Prior to this I’d never played anything smaller than 28mm other than a brief flirtation with ECW in 15mm but this game in 10mm (or was it 6mm? I just can’t remember 🙂 ) blew me away and I felt that this was the answer to the problem of how to game those classic ‘horse and musket’ battles of the C19th. Dave wasn’t so convinced and pointed out that we were already doing ACW in 28mm big style and we weren’t going to suddenly start all over again with a much smaller scale. He was right of course but I was completely taken by the possibilities for Franco Prussian so I bought the rules and when we returned to the UK started buying up Pendraken packs and getting them professionally painted while I read up on the period.
Fast forward to now and we’ve played a goodly number of the scenarios from the 1870 book and even helped play test one of Bruce’s later publications so with lockdown easing we got the figures out from storage and gave them another go with our own scenario.
The scenario saw MacMahons 1st Corps deployed along one of two major north – south roads in Alsace awaiting the arrival of 5th & 7th Corps for an advance eastward. Unfortunately Kirchbach’s V Corps & Tumpling’s VI Corps plus 2 Bavarian Corps under Tann & Hartmann had advanced across the border and were deploying along the other road. The French objective was to push the Germans back from the other road (major victory) or at least hold their own road (minor victory), the Germans was to force the the French off the designated battlefield – victory or death!
The game went well, as always; the French opted for an early attack by MacMahon all along the line once the 1st Division was in place, keeping the cavalry division in reserve to support 5th & 7th Corps when they arrived (randomly diced for), the Germans opted for the 2 Bavarian Corps to hold the left and left centre while using their cavalry divisions to launch spoiling attacks to slow down the French, the 2 Prussian Corps would march on and deploy on the right and right centre and immediately attack.
In brief; the attack by the French 1st Division shot the Bavarian cavalry to pieces (so much for slowing the French!) but once at the German road line ground to a halt in the face of the Bavarian Corps, the 2nd Division had trouble with it’s order activation resulting in a piecemeal attack on the Bavarians which actually saw it’s brigades fall back, the 3rd Division got into a fierce firefight with the Prussian V Corps and lost badly and fell back on the deploying 5th Corps, the 4th Division took and held some high ground hoping to use it as an anchor for the main attack.
Over the subsequent turns the numerical superiority of the German artillery told on the French, weakening 4th Division on the hill so that VI Corps could by pass them and join V Corps in rolling over 3rd Division and crashing into 5th Corps which ultimately yielded the road. The arrival of 7th Corps was late in the battle on the French right centre where they were easily able to hold the road in their section as the remains of the 2nd & 1st Divisions retreated from attacking the Bavarians. With the specified number of turns played the French had one full strength Corps on part of the road but off to it’s left was the bruised but still capable Prussian Corps so no French victory could be claimed and common sense said the French would withdraw leaving the field to the Prussians and Bavarians.
It was fun, but as we packed away we asked ourselves how many more games of this were we going to play? and the reluctant answer was, not many, we’re 28mm players and despite all the problems that gives for ‘big games’ we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for the collection to go to a more deserving home. So with that in mind here are some details of the collection.
The French is the Army of Alsace under MacMahon comprising the 1st, 5th & 7th Corps. These comprise 10 infantry divisions which total 40 regiments of 3 battalions plus 9 battalions of Chasseurs. There are 4 cavalry divisions of 20 regiments of 4 squadrons each (actually 2 bases on the table) plus 40 guns, 10 machine guns and command stands for Corps, Division & Brigade level. There are also some extraneous elements from 2nd Corps just because there were some figures left over.
The Prussians are the Third Army under Crown Prince Friedrich comprising the V, VI & XI Prussian Corps and the I & II Bavarian Corps. The Prussians comprise 6 infantry divisions of 22 regiments (3 battalions per regiment), 3 jaeger battalions and 6 cavalry regiments plus 34 guns; also 2 separate cavalry divisions of 11 regiments. The Bavarians compromise 4 infantry divisions of 11 regiments, 10 jaeger battalions and 4 cavalry regiments plus 14 guns; also 2 separate cavalry divisions of 6 regiments. Just like the French there are command stands from Corps down to Brigade level.
The terrain consists of; 13 town units, 4 ruins, 5 hills of various sizes, 4 dense woods, about 40 separate tree clumps, 24 rough ground patches (quite useful for putting the trees on), 2 feet of hedges/fences, and 30feet of straight roads plus various curves and junctions. Along with that are tape measures, dice, damage markers, spare flags and a copy of the rules and quick play sheets.
The total number of French figures is around 1200 foot and 100 cavalry and for the Prussians & Bavarians around 1100 foot and 130 cavalry. Those who want to can work out how many Pendraken packs that works out to and a quick google search will give you the painting rates of those who paint for a living, I would say the collection is painted to a good wargamers standard.
What do we want for it? Well we are looking for offers north of £2.5k and if you are interested in making an offer or want further details contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, enjoy your gaming.