EXCERPT 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

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Belmont Ridge - Part 1 Set Up and Opening Moves

In order to test out the latest version of Hearts of Tin, I chose Scenario 15, Reinforcements on Table from CS Grant's Scenarios for Wargames. This is an old chestnut that I have played many times over the last 30 or so years in almost every scale and period, 6mm, 10m, 20mm, 25mm,40mm & 54mm, Ancients, Pike & Shot, various Horse & Musket, ACW, Colonial and WWII including both skirmish and battle games. It always gives a good game and is useful for play testing since I know that the scenario is sound.

The previous week had seen some feverish re-re-re-basing of my 1830/40's toy soldiers onto their 4 man bases, so I was keen to try them out. The cavalry and some of the 1812 units which were filling in were still based singly and these were ok but I just like my fixed stands, for some reason, apart from the ease of moving them about, it is easier for my mind to abstract 2 or 4 figures on a stand into a unit of 100 or so men than it is to think of 2 or 4 individuals as anything but individuals.    

Spoiler alert: I'll post a more complete discussion on how the rules worked later but overall I was very happy with them. There were one or 2 small things where the latest tweaks didn't have the intended effect and in particular I caught one of the players (sic) exploiting  one of these in a shameful manner, using shaken units to hold the line in an unintended manner.  The result was that I had to re-tweak the melee chart and shaken rules. It was a minor tweak but since I am trying to keep melee short, sweet and clear without long lists of ifs, ands, buts and subordinate clauses, I spent all of last evening night and most of this morning working on minor rules tweaks instead of the battle report.. Hopefully I can still remember what happened Sunday night!


Since this is a test game and the final shape of the Oregon War Project is still being developed, let us just say that somewhere  in the mid 1840's General Ross finds himself at the head of a small British army, about 4,000 strong, occupying Cornerton, about a 1/2 mile south west of Belmont Ridge. Word has come that an American army is approaching with hostile intent. Since the ridge dominates the junction with the road to Nowhere, he decides that he must hold the ridge. General MacDonald with the first brigade is sent ahead to occupy the ridge with assurances that the rest of the army will march to his support at 1st light.  


For this game, I decided to actually use written orders. In order to focus on basic rules, on both sides, all troops were deemed to be average quality, all line infantry are musket armed, all light infantry are rifle armed. The Order of Battle and initial orders were as follows:

1st Brigade: (deployed as indicated on the scenario map)
Brigadier MacDonald: Hold the ridge.
26th Foot: 5 companies of Line Infantry (converted Scruby 1812, yellow facings)
49th Foot 5 companies of Line Infantry (converted Scruby ACW, green facings)
2 batteries of field artillery (converted Zinnbrigade and original)

Independent Cavalry: Block any attempt by enemy forces to bypass the hill through the gap to the west.
Larsen's Lancers: 5 troops of regular cavalry. (converted Zinnbrigade)

In town, in order:
2nd Brigade.
Brigadier Douglas: March to the center of the ridge with all speed, support the first brigade and hold the ridge
Victoria Rifles: 5 companies Rifle armed Light Infantry  (converted Zinnbrigade)
Canadian Fencibles: 5 companies Line Infantry (Scruby 1812)
Battalion of Detachments: 5 companies Line Infantry  (Scruby 1812 + original)

Cavalry Brigade
Brigadier Stuart: Support Larsen's Lancers and block any enemy attempt to outflank the ridge through the gap to the west.
Governor-General\s Bodyguard: 5 troops Regular Cavalry (converted Zinnbrigade)
Bengal Horse Artillery Rocket Battery (converted Zinnbrigade)

3rd Brigade:
Brigadier Brock: March to the west end of the ridge, support the 1st Brigade and hold the ridge.
41st Foot: 5 companies Line Infantry (Sash & Saber)
York Volunteers: 5 companies Line Infantry (Sash & Saber plus a few Perry's)
Garrison artillery with Heavy Howitzer pulled by a steam tractor. (converted Zinnbrigade)

"Here they come!"
To the North, the American army, nearly 6,000 strong, spent a restless night. They were roused well before dawn, and by first light were filing onto the field. General Taylor issued orders as follows:

1st Brigade.
Brigadier Zinn: Deploy on the left, assault the Eastern half of the ridge.
1st Infantry: 5 companies Line Infantry (Converted Scruby ACW marching)
2nd Infantry: 5 companies Line Infantry (Converted Scruby 1812, firing & advancing)
1st Pennsylvania Foot Artillery (Converted Zinnbrigade)

3rd Brigade
Brigadier Young: Deploy in the center. Assault the Western 1/2 of the ridge
1st Ohio: 5 companies Line Infantry (Converted Prince August cowboys, S&S and oiginals in brown)
3rd Ohio: 5 companies Line Infantry (Original figures in grey)
2nd Pennsylvania Foot Artillery (converted Zinnbrigade)

4th Brigade
Brigadier Scott: Deploy on the right behind the cavalry. Move through the gap to the West of the hill and flank the enemy position.
Bangor Rifles: 5 companies rifle armed light infantry. (orignal figures)
3rd Infantry: 5 companies Line Infantry (converted Scruby ACW w red blankets)
6th New York: 5 companies Line Infantry (originals mixed with various)
Mountain Pack-howitzer Battery

2nd Brigade
Brigadier Perry:  Deploy behind the center as the Army reserve.
4th Infantry: 5 companies Line Infantry (converted S&S)
7th Infantry: 5 companies Line Infantry (converted S&S)
Michigan Battery: Foot Artillery (converted Zinnbrigade)

Independent Cavalry Advance through the gap  west of the ridge and prevent enemy reinforcements from reaching the ridge.
Rosser's Mounted Rifles. 5 troops regular cavalry (converted Scruby ACW and Zinnbriugade)

Cavalry Brigade
Brigadier Wavey. Deploy on the right. Support the Mounted rifles. Prevent enemy reinforcements from reaching the ridge.
1st Dragoons: 5 troops regular cavalry (converted Scruby ACW)
2nd Dragoons: 5 troops regular cavalry (converted Scruby ACW)

As the morning mist cleared, the British artillery boomed out. The battle for Belmont Ridge had begun.
The end of turn 1. The Americans had advanced all along the line with impressive movement die rolls while the Canadian brigade limped out of town, filing past the coffee shop take out window to get their double-doubles no doubt.  The British artillery had been all sound and fury but the American guns poured a deadly fire into the waiting red line.
The middle of Turn 2. The Canadians pick up the pace.

Next post: The 1st Assault goes in


  1. Hi Ross,
    Hey, you wouldn't have the OOB for one of those WWII games based on this scenario laying around, would you? I would be very interested to see your interprolation of the forces into that period.
    I always enjoy your blog. Even if you have nothing to say, I never tire of looking at your photo of Martial Cat perusing the battlefield.

  2. Glad to know Hector can keep you amused John. I don't have an OB at hand but once I finish writing this up I'll do a post on 2 methods I use to translate the teasers into WWII games with some examples.


  3. Looks great, and I'm enjoying following a very plausible rendition of a familiar scenario.

  4. Hip hip hooray for the redcoats!

    Mrs. Kinch is also rather a fan of Martial Cat.