Sunday, 30 December 2012

Gettysburg Day Two - Scenario

We are planning this 6mm refight with historical OOB’s, timescale and deployments, and it promises to be a very different affair to the two day slugging match of Chancellorsville, our last game ! The scenario will be balanced on a knife edge, and the outcome will probably by determined by what happens in the first  3 or 4 turns. If the Confederates get the upper hand quickly then Sickles' Corps may collapse like a pack of cards – but if even a couple of his brigades can offer serious resistance then the flow of Union reinforcements should turn the tide in their favour.

Ian has 21 brigades available from three different corps ( most starting off table), and I have only 13. To create game balance Union brigades are 7 strength points against 9 strength points for the Confederates, who also begin the game  with strong skirmish lines (skirmishers usually have to be ‘bought’ with strength points in our rules). All the famous geographical locations are VP sites that affect Union army demoralisation while held by the Confederates.

Anderson’s division on Seminary Ridge will be fixed in position for a random amount of time to simulate Anderson’s late involvement in the days events. Opposite him on Cemetery Ridge Gibbon’s Union division will be similarly fixed until attacked. Union reinforcements will arrive at the numbered entry points.

Click on map to enlarge.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Gettysburg Day Two - Map

This is the plan of the table layout for our next American Civil War game. The game will be based on the second day at Gettysburg and will feature Longstreet's attack on the Round Tops. Dave will play Longstreet and I'll be playing the various Union defenders, should be a good one!

Click on the image for a closer look.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

20mm Napoleonic Game (turns 3-5)

We played our second and final session of the game this week. This is how it went:

The Swedes ascend the ridge only to be greeted by musket fire from the Austrian Gabriel Spleny regiment.

French voltigeurs press forward and slowly take a toll on the Austrian gunners.

In the centre of the field the French light cavalry are pursued by the Union brigade...

...and go crashing back through the 9th Polish regiment who promptly take to their heels - it's their first battle too!

The Swedes try to charge home but fail their morale checks and stop short of the Austrian line.

The French have a little more luck on the opposite flank where some brisk musketry thins the ranks of the advancing Russian and Nassau grenadiers.

Lord Hill leads the Guards forward to complete Wellingtons victory as the Swedes turn and run towards the rear.

At the end of turn five the game was declared a victory for the Allies as three of the French units had routed and no victory locations had changed hands. Perhaps not the best game we’ve played this year but as a rule play-test it was invaluable.

Our next game will be another 6mm American Civil War battle.

Friday, 23 November 2012

20mm Napoleonic Game (turns 1-2)

We decided to begin the game with a round of artillery fire, as the armies were starting deployed quite closely together. Following this we managed to play two full turns, a bit slow as we were struggling to get to grips with the rules (a pretty poor show considering that I had written them). This is what happened:

Murat and D'Hilliers lead the French cavalry forward, whilst to their right the Swedes advance towards the ridge.

Stapleton Cotton brings the light cavalry up beside Ponsonby's Union brigade in response to the French move.

Dave orders Mercer's horse artillery to charge forward, unlimber and fire on the advancing Swedes. They immediately come under fire themselves from the Guard horse artillery, and start to take casualties.

The Swedes are taking casualties too but on they come (for this game they have been classed as third-rate troops). They will soon be at the foot of the hill.
The ridge is only lightly defended by Austrian Jagers supported by one field artillery battery. Dave has chosen to keep his infantry behind the ridge - for now at least!

The Prussian Jagers are busily popping away from the garden of the farm and are hitting Murat's troopers in the flank as they ride past.

And so to the real action - Murat and D'Hilliers charge into the Allied cavalry but Murat does so at considerable personal cost (lucky for him this is just a test game!).

We got to use my new "tactical order markers" for this game - a system we both liked as it does away with paperwork.

Daddy Hill deploys the British Guards in line behind the ridge - what does he have in mind?

Meanwhile Blucher keeps a watchful eye on his Landwehr as they make ready to defend the farm.

This was Dave’s first game using my Muskets & Marshals rules and I was relieved to hear that he thought the basics were sound. We were happy with the firing and melee systems but the cavalry charge/counter charge sequence left us both scratching our heads. We will play another session before formulating any rule amendments as we still haven’t had any proper infantry firing or melees yet or really seen how the morale rules pan out, but then that is the whole point of a play-test!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Napoleonic Play-test

The next game will be a Napoleonic one using the 20mm Hinton Hunt armies. The purpose is to play-test my house rules "Muskets & Marshals" and hopefully give the rules their final tweak.

The armies deployed and ready for battle - Allies on the left, French on the right.

The Swedes are fighting with the French for this one.

The Duke of Wellington with his ADC look on as the Allied cavalry form up.

A view of the French centre - Napoleon is there with Marshal Ney!

The French appear to have formed a grand battery.

Russian grenadiers supported by the Nassau battalion on the Allies extreme right flank.

So that's the entire collection out on the table and ready for action, we hope to play the game in the next week or so.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Battle of Hawk River - Conclusion

Extract from the Testimony of General Grey at his Court Martial, November 1st, 1777 :"......I deployed our Dragoons and Colonel Winter's Grenadiers to sweep away the Colonials, with the 17th in line in support behind. The 44th made steady progress on our right to outflank the enemy via Parson's Woods. Past experience led me to believe that once the ragged enemy saw our fellows fix bayonets, they would be off like rabbits. Unfortunately, I was so sure of this that it could be said our tactical dispositions were a little hasty, cocksure and er,...clumsy.

 The British Grenadiers come under increasing pressure.

I allowed woodsmen to pour fire into our flank unopposed (routing the Dragoons), and did not extend my firing line. Our ill-trained opponents delivered accurate volleys at an unexpected rate, killing Colonel Winter and some thirty rank and file and forcing a chaotic retreat which blocked the 17th, who could not come up effectively and were also driven back.

As volley after volley are fired...

 ...the Grenadiers begin to fall apart, then go tow, row, rowing to the rear!

The 44th lost Colonel Halkett and retired under pressure from a fresh Continental regiment emerging from Chesterfield supported by yet another swarm of their infernal skirmishers. With regards to this unprecedented humiliation, I can only offer the defence that I was suffering from severe dental pain throughout, resulting in root canal surgery, and my attention was not on the task in hand....."

 The Chesterfield Militia can feel very pleased with themselves.

As you can now guess, the second (and final) session of our Hawk River game continued in much the same vein as the first. Dave continued to press forward with the grenadiers but they came under a heavy and sustained fire from the 6th Pennsylvania and the Chesterfield Militia. This fire eventually caused them to retire leaving several dozen of their number (including Colonel Winter) on the ground.

The 17th Foot come up (even their flag is bending under the hail of fire).

 It's now a hopeless situation for the 17th.

The 17th Foot came forward but they received exactly the same warm reception as the grenadiers, and once again the minutemen took the opportunity to pour a telling fire into their flank. Meanwhile I had advanced the 9th Pennsylvania towards the 44th Foot in front of Parson’s Wood. The playing of a “quick march” option allowed me to close to effective range and get off a volley before the British could reply. This was enough to take their morale level below zero and force them to retire. With all three British units in retreat the game was declared as a “Substantial Victory” for the Americans!

The 9th Pennsylvania advance towards the 44th Foot...

 ...who decide they prefer the safety offered by Parson's Wood.

It certainly was a bit of a drubbing for the British who lost a total of 82 casualties including two Colonels, whilst the Americans lost a mere 22 men, and all units ended the game with good morale. Our initial thoughts after such a dramatic conclusion were that the new rule tweaks, in particular the extra effectiveness of the minutemen, had caused an imbalance in the rules.

General Grey discusses his career options with his staff.

However, on further thought I believe my victory was down largely to over-confidence on the part of General Grey resulting in poor tactical choices. This is borne out by the fact that my Americans delivered 8 full volleys during the course of the game to Dave’s 3 – such a discrepancy was almost bound to end in just this sort of result.

 "Man of the match" award goes to the 6th Pennsylvania.

In mitigation, Dave really had just had root-canal surgery and may not have been on top form, and anyway we both agreed that the British were lacking in skirmishers to take on the minutemen, so I will be painting up some more “light bobs” before the next game.

Friday, 26 October 2012

The Battle of Hawk River – Part 1

The battle finally got underway on Wednesday night and fortunately Dave brought a newly made bridge with him to give us an objective to fight over. I deployed the Americans in and around Chesterfield while Dave marched the British on to the table from the northeast.

The British are coming!

 The Americans prepare to defend hearth and home.

For some reason we both managed to under-estimate the speed at which our units would move. I advanced my Militia too quickly north along the road towards Parson’s Wood where they deployed in the open rather than behind the rail fence as I had intended. Dave however made a far bigger blunder by bringing Major Dawson’s squadron of dragoons forward in column so rapidly that they ran into a hail of rifle fire from the Chesterfield Minutemen.

 Don't fire 'till you see the whites of their eyes boys!

After our previous rule play-test we had decided to make Minutemen more effective by allowing them a 3,4,5,6 to hit at any range up to 15 inches but I don’t think Dave had reckoned on me also using the rail fence to “rest weapons” meaning that only a die roll of “1” would fail to score a hit! As the saddles were emptied Major Dawson ordered the survivors to dismount, but a volley from a second group of Minutemen in the South Meadow knocked down every one of them.

 "It was like shootin' fish in a barrel!" - Ebenezer Howard, Chesterfield Minutemen.

In his official report to Major General Grey, Major Dawson later wrote: " We came on apace, and seeing the south meadow dotted about with various scoundrels and ragamuffins I determined that the mounted application of the sabre would put a swift end to their nonsense. However, the grenadiers to our right and a rail fence to our left inhibited easy manoeuvre, allowing those same scoundrels to pour a most galling and accurate fire into our flank, being now close upon us. This persuaded me to dismount my men after all, which was done in some confusion. Although we skirmished gamely, we were seriously outnumbered and in the space of scarcely ten minutes I found I had lost some fifteen troopers and was forced to retire ignominiously from the field with my command in ruins. "

 Major Dawson and the lads, just before it all went pear shaped.

While the Dragoons and Minutemen were still fighting by the South Meadow, the 6th Pennsylvania and the Militia were deploying into line to oppose the advance of the British Grenadier battalion. The British were looking confident but as the first volleys rang out it was they who came off the worst, mainly because the supporting 17th Foot were out of range, and my Americans could bring a greater number of muskets to bear. Dave then ordered the Grenadiers to “fix bayonets” prompting me to test the morale of both my units, but even the Militia passed this test of nerves!

The battle lines deploy.

The British grenadiers doing some more tow, row, rowing.

 An impressive first volley from the Americans.

Meanwhile Dave had been steadily marching the 44th Foot through Parson’s Wood in an attempt to out-flank my line. This was made possible because the 44th were in possession of several “quick march” command options (diced for at the start of the game before deployment) enabling a relatively fast progress through the undergrowth.

 The 44th Foot emerge from Parson's Wood.

Finally, Colonel Halkett emerged from the forest at the head of his regiment and his light company began skirmishing with my Minutemen. It was at this point that Captain Smallwood, in charge of my section of artillery (placed on the high ground behind Hawk River) fired off their first ranging shots. The balls bounded across the field taking out two men in the column and parting the poor Colonel permanently from his horse!

Just before the lucky shot.

The 9th Pennsylvania prepare to shore up the American left flank.

A very entertaining first session (well, for me at least), however I fear I may not do so well next time as the British infantry are looking more than a little annoyed and no doubt intend to get to grips with the bayonet soon.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Hawk River - Terrain

Ok you eagle-eyes out there, which bit of terrain have I just discovered that we don't seem to have?