Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Shako Peninsula Fight - French Division Attack! Lots of Pics

Played my second "proper" game of Arty Conliffe's "Shako" today with my 20mm troops and it was a smashing success.
Shako is a Napoleonics (and Seven Years War) game that allows you to take command of a quite large force and it retains a very decent tactical and operational flavor.  It has wonderful simplicity also.  I can't stress enough how simple it is and I love it.  I will play many, many more rounds of Shako, and since my troops are so darn photogenic, you'll be seeing all of the pictures of these games!

Today's fight pitted a very large French Division of 5 Battalions of regular line infantry, 1 Battery of Foot Artillery, and 1 Cavalry Regiment against a British joint Division of 2 regular line infantry battalions, 1 Foot Guards Battalion, 1 Foot Artillery Battery, 1 Portuguese Battalion, and a small Skirmisher unit of lights.  Can't forget the mounts either...The British were lucky enough to have a small regiment of King's German Legion Cavalry and the French had a Regiment of Cuirassiers.

The British were charged with defending a narrow pass with an impassable hill anchoring their right.  So the French had to go right through them...
French Division Commander

2 Stands = 1 Battalion...until I get a third stand painted up for everyone

cool picture

Cool picture 2
The French plan was simple.  Advance and smash a hole through the British line and pour the second line into the hole.  The British plan was equally simple.  Stand here and don't let any Frenchmen past you.

British Division - actually a Brigade but since there was Cavalry playing, I couldn't get away with calling them a Brigade.
Entire French Division advancing.  The guns are "limbered" hence their facing.  One day I'll get around to buying more horses...
 The French advanced into the British shot and cannister early on.  Since my table isn't that big, the French found themselves tasting grapeshot almost as soon as they cleared the rough terrain.  Their Cavalry took some casualties early on and so did their skirmishers as you can see by the red dice in the pictures.
British Light NCO urging the men on

British skirmisher units engaging the French Voltiguers at long range!
and the Voltiguers fire back!
French Cavalry crash into the Foot Guards...

KGL sees an limbered French Battery!  

Dont fire until you can smell the garlic.

The French used their cavalry as bait, keeping at a safe distance from small arms, but also soaking up cannon fire as well.  The threat of Cavalry on the flanks of an infantry position is always going to give an enemy ground commander pause.  At least this is what monsieur general was thinking..

Once their Infantry were within musket range of teh British, the French launched their Cavalry Regiment at the same time the British launched the KGL at the Artillery.  The French Cavalry were repulsed with losses while the French artillery battery evaporated.
By now the infantry closed with each other and the musketry began in earnest across the line now.  The British skirmishers were driven back by French formations and would not rejoin the fight.

look at the expression on the gunner's face as the KGL trooper is about to strike.  I love LOVE this picture!  Looks like he's trying to run away.

French closing with the British line.  
The first melee does not go the French's way at all.  The 2 lead Battalions are cut to ribbons by the British musketry and the British are still holding on.  This is where the French Artillery would still have come in handy.  2 French Battalions are sent to the rear with casualties.

The second line moves into the assault and gets teh job done.  While the Guards are sent packing from a bad roll, the first British Battalion evaporates on the British left.  The center Battalion is still holding strong next to their artillery, which is, at this point, fighting for its very life.  "Time to get the Portuguese chaps in the game eh?"

This sends the British line reeling.  They assault with the KGL to plug a hole but it doesn't work and the KGL  retreat.  The British division must not conduct a retrograde to a smaller hill behind their initial position.  The Guards have already rallied and have occupied the hill.  The British Division commander begins the retrograde movement but knows the Artillery's going to be lost in the process.  There are too many swarms of French infantry around the guns now...It's only a matter of time.
Portuguese Troops waiting for the order to go into action.
Situation prior to melee.  You can see the KGL cavalry in the lower left  and the french cavalry in the upper right.

The Second melee!   This is where the French punch numerous holes in the line.
second melee shaping up!
Second melee
2 French battalions retreating after losing the first melee

                       Situation after the second melee.  The guards are just off camera to the right.   


  1. rally men we'll hold them here!!!!!!! I guess thats what the commander is shouting to his battered brits

    1. Gowan,
      I wish I would have had more time - I think the Brits were going to win this one. The Guards only had one casualty pip, and same with the KGL. Remember also the skirmishers were still fully mission capable.

      The Frenchies were whittled down pretty well and most units were at about 50% strength. Then again with my dice rolling yesterday, there is no telling what might happen.

      That's the best part of Shako - the ebb and flow of the battle.

      Thanks for commenting,


  2. Looks great, I used to play Shako with 1/72 too - loads of visual appeal.

    1. Definitely good visual appeal with the 20mm guys. And you can't beat the price either.

  3. Great looking troops and wonderful photos.

    1. Thanks, Rodger. They are much more fun to paint than their 6mm cousins!

  4. I bought the original Shako rules a few months ago but have still not even given them a read through. Are they really easy to play?

    1. Steve,
      They are extremely easy to play. There are one or two abstract concepts to get over that are a big departure from standard rules sets, but in the end I think you might like them.

      My own opinion is that they are for people who want to sit down a play a Napoleonic game and enjoy themselves.

      I would be happy to publish a turn by turn if you would like a primer.

    2. Steven: a turn by turn primer would be great! I would really appreciate that.


  5. Brave french dragons! Very nice pictures...

    1. Thanks, Phil. I agree - anyone who is going to charge head-long into Guards armed with only sabers needs to have their head examined!

  6. Steven, Shako is my Napoleonic rules of choise as well (although in 15mm.) Very nice troops.
    For your amusement, edification, and to terrorize your enemies, I give you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB1kp9adYYE

    1. John,
      I love Shako. It's honestly my favorite Napoleonic Rules Set. Maybe even better than Volley & Bayonet... Maybe!

      Thank you for that youtube music! Excellent! Pas De Charge!

  7. Which Shako rule set were you using ? Shako 1 or Shako 2? I thought these rules were gered or structured for 15mm only.

    1. VFW,
      I was playing Shako I - actually the rules allow alot of wiggle room in the base and figure size. The Yahoo group actually has a good mixture of QRS for different scales. I used the 15mm measurements and it still feels fine for 20mm troops.

      To be perfectly honest, the ground scale versus weapons ranges and movement are abstracted anyways... It was alot of fun.

  8. great actions shots a battle I would love to have been fighting

    1. 20mm troops are very photogenic! The HaT guys in particular. They are alot of fun to paint and they look great on the table.

      It was a fun pick-up battle and I think that's one of Shako's strengths.