EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Sunday, March 21, 2010

CW2010 Battle of the Walmar River Pass

On the day after the 1st Battle of St. Michel, the Pragmatic Army trudged its weary way towards the town of St. Michel and the enemy's war chest. As they approached a defile where the Walmar River passes through a defile formed by rocky hills, brish and marsh, there was a sudden stir at the front of the column. On a low rise across the line of march could be seen a battery of guns supported by infantry and cavalry. Rosish forces were going to dispute the passage.

Design Note: This scenario was designed as a mountain valley. Logistical constraints in getting the game to and from the convention forced us to concede that 30+ square feet of hills was not going to be practical. The main effect of the terrain was to have a narrow area of clear terrain on either side of the river, a strip of difficult terrain on either side and an area of impassible terrain on either edge. We used a varity of smaller hills interspersed  with rough ground, brush etc which would slow movement to replace the lower slopes on either side and added some steep impassible hills to replace the inaccesible upper slopes. Originally I had planned to paint ground clothes for each scenario with the spots for houses etc marked on but that didn't happen. My back up plan was to bring my glossy sectional wide river but it got missed during my frantic late night packing (perhaps if I hadn't played that impromptu Black Powder game....nah) so the river came from a bolt of cheap fabric, cut on site for the 1st game.  
The Rosish defensive position must have looked formidible to the advancing column. Straight ahead was a 2 gun battery supported by 2 companies of the crack MacDuff's Fusilier Regiment. On the eastern bank could be seen 2 more companies of MacDuff's including the Grenadiers. They were supported by the Yellow Hussars and Crown Prince Dragoons. Unseen to the approaching troops were 2 companies of Prince Michael Pandours in ambush in the woods.
The Pragmatic army deployed with the Hussars and the SB Konig Rupert Jaegers on the east bank and 1 gun of the SB artillery and a combined Wachovian and Standzbach-Anwatch light infantry regiment on the west. The troops on both banks advanced warily, waiting for their supports. On the west bank, a long range artillery duel broke out but was over almost as soon as it began. One gun in the open is no match for two behind cover! Help was soon at hand in the form of the 2 company Wachovian Regiment and volunteers were called forward to help man the gun. Disdaining to be daunted by the Rosmark position, the Wachovians formed line and advanced, supported by the light infantry.

 Impatient as always to be at the enemy, one company of MacDuff's pushed forward through the woods and deployed into line on top on a small but steep knoll. Seeing what looked like an easy target, the Wachovian and Schoeffen-Buschhagen Hussars twirled their mustaches, drew their pistols and charged.
In their eagerness to snatch this prize, however, they misjudged the steepness of the hill and their line bent into a crescent as the center struggled up the hill. As the ends veered in towards the waiting thin blue line, a crisp order was given, the muskets leveled briefly and then unleashed a deadly volley at point blank range. The Hussars were shaken momentarily but the men of the west are no cowards and the Hussars twirled their mustaches again and pressed forward, pistols belching smoke. Perhaps sabers would have been of more use for no matter how fancily the Hussars were dressed or how prettily they doubled their dice, the veteran fusilers calmly pulled them from their horses and bayonetted those who were too proud to surrender.

At last the Hussars recognized the futility of the endeavor and began to turn and retire. Too late! While they were engaged in melee, the Yellow Hussars had ridden forward, eager to revenge their humiliation at the Battle of Sawyer's Farm. As the Pragmatic Hussars turned, the Yellow Hussars hit them from the flank and after a brief melee, scattered them to the winds. It was well after dark before enough Pragmatic Hussars could be gathered to reform a scant 1/2 squadron.
Across the river, the Wachovian Regiment advanced boldly forward into a hail of canister, pressing forward in support, the light infantry engaged the guns and a company of MacDuff's that pushed forward on the flank. Unable to advance farther without exposing the guns and unwilling to retreat, the fusiliers traded long range volleys for the aimed fire of the enemy skirmishers.
As the cavalry on both sides fell back, the Pandours pushed forward and enaged the Jaegers in a prolonged light infantry duel. Behind them, MacDuff's Grenadiers came forward, lined the river and opened fire on the flank of the Pragmatic infantry as it pressed forward. Behind the shattered remnants of the Wachovians came companies of Vieganburghers and Fredonians, a regiment of Stanzbach-Anwatch infantry and more guns. Behind them, squadron after squadron of heavy cavalry spashed across the ford and advanced to support the jaegers.
As the fire fight continued, it became apparent that the green coats of the Jaegers were more suited to skirmishing than the red pantaloons of the Pandours and that regardless of valour, close ranks of volley firing line infantry are no match for the aimed fire of light infantry. As the Wachovians fell back to clear the way for the next assault and the SB Prince's Dragoons advanced, it was clear that it was time to go. On the east bank, the Pandours covered the retreat of MacDuff's and the cavalry while on the west bank, the guns limbered up and headed to the rear covered by the remnants of MacDuff's who rapidly followed them before they could be caught by the advancing hordes of enemy infantry.
Due to the prolonged musketry, both MacDuff's and the Pandours had taken significant losses but the Pragmatic army had suffered even heavier losses with both the Hussars and Wachovians being virtually wiped out along with most of the 1/2 battery of SB gunners. More importantly, the Rosmark guns were safe and the Pragmatic army had been held up long enough to allow reinforcements from North Polemburg to arrive at  St. Michel.

Weary but triumphant, MacDuff's Fusilers march home with their new Wachovian friends in tow.

2 comments:

  1. It seems that the valiant Rosish defenders did yeoman like service. They most certainly bloodied those nasty invaders and escaped with artillery intact. Well done!

    Nice photos of attractive troops too.


    -- Jeff

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  2. A magnificent rearguard action! The Rosish commander as much deserves a Mention in Despatches as do the heroic troops who held up for so long the entire Pragmatic Army.

    I liked the terrain, too. And, despite their humiliating defeat, I do like the look of those Blue-uniformed Pragmatic Hussars who got overwhelmed by the Yellow Hussars (themselves a fine-looking body of men...)
    Cheers,
    Ion

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