Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Autumn Campaign Begins

Now that the Summer is starting to recede I find myself thinking about the dark evenings and cold days ahead and what projects I'll be working on over the coming months.  Having had a few years off wargaming and painting i've decided to return to my favourite period - Napoleonics.  This was the first period I gamed at the tender age of 19 at Stoke wargames club.  This was mainly due to the location of the Napoleonics room location at the top of the stairs and was thus the first room I came across after entering the club.  I still remember the sight of that 15x6 table filled with 15mm figures recreating the battle of Waterloo.

I've got quite a collection of 28mm figures (mostly Prussian) from Elite and Connoisseur and a few battalions of French.  I wanted to do a campaign that would allow me to collect units from lots of different nationalities and game battles from small skirmishes up to large engagements.  Given that my figures wouldn't be ready until next year I decided to have a go at the 1814 campaign as I've never gamed any of the battles from this campaign.

The 1814 campaign in France seems largely ignored by wargamers who prefer to concentrate on the larger battles found in the 1812/1813 and 1815 campaigns.  I have never understood why this campaign is unpopular even though scholars consider it to be one of Napoleon’s finest campaigns, alongside the Italian campaign at the start of his career.  
For me, the iconic painting by Ernest Messonier has always been one of my favourite historical paintings and the first one I ever bought.  It has adorned the wall of my study for over twenty five years and has been a source of personal inspiration during some tough times in my life.  In spite of this, I like many Napoleonic gamers, have never considered the battles of Montmirail, Vauchamps, Craonne, Montereau or Paris as worthy of my time.

This all changed when I read Petrie’s Napoleon at Bay earlier this year, six months and many books later I am utterly absorbed by this campaign and the wargaming potential it provides.

This blog is intended to collect my thoughts, plans and experiences of wargaming the 1814 campaign, I also hope that it provides inspiration for other wargamers as we approach it’s bi-centennial year.  I will also post reviews and recommendations on books, websites and boardgames that provide additional background information for the campaign.

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