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.