Somewhere the sun is shining. Sighhhh a hard day for Redcoats. but HOORAY! for the boys in blue!
Today's game was based on Don Featherstone's Action in the Plattville Valley from his book Wargames. The original was set in the ACW and naturally used his rules. It looked close enough for my 40mm Oregon War and the new, IMPROVED, With MacDuff To The Frontier. (and I was right!)
All line infantry units were 20 strong, rifle units, 12 strong and cavalry units, 9 strong. All units were considered average regulars but the artillery was deemed "Stubborn".
Taking the role of the Confederate side was the Anglo-Mexican army under General Hubert. It was composed as follows:
1st Brigade: 1st Battalion Incorporated Militia, Canadian Fencibles.
2nd Brigade: HM 26th Foot, HM 49th Foot
3rd Brigade: Victoria Rifles, San Carlos Active Militia
Cavalry Brigade: Larson's Lancers, GG Body Guard
Artillery Brigade: Rocket Battery Bengal Horse Artillery, Foote's battery RA.
Taking the role of the Federal side was the American Army under General Ross.
1st Brigade: 1st & 2nd US Infantry
2nd Brigade: Bangor Rifles, 3rd Infantry
3rd Brigade: King Of Prussia Pennsylvania Volunteers, 2nd Illinois Volunteers
Cavalry Brigade: 1st & 2nd Dragoons
Artillery Brigade: Pennsyvania Artillery, Mountain Battery.
The game lasted 10 turns and took a little over 3 hours to play.
I followed the initial moves of the original game and then relied on my own judgement assisted by the occasional die roll as the game went on. Thanks to the blocked lines of sight and the need to push forward, the game proceeded rapidly without incident until Turn 5. (There were a few long range pot shots on T4 iir.) The main deviation from the book at this point was that the Fencibles beat the 1st Foot to the Stone Wall thanks to a combination of the card draw and variable moves. On Turn 5 all hell broke loose.
It was a black card and the Dragoons swept forward, after detailing a troop to cover the flank. Behind them the Pennsylvanians stormed the Church with its Mexican garrison. The 1st action for the newly reinforced San Carlos battalion. And the result of all this excitement?
Left to themselves the Rifles broke after a short melee with the 3rd Infantry while without the Brigadier's stern influence, the 49th and 26th Foot both elected to retreat. (Two control checks, two 1's) The leaderless US regiments however, held their ground and broke the Militia again. The GGBG steeled their nerves and made a dash at the Illinois boys as they pressed up to the town but the fiercest volley of the game sent them reeling back and the game was up. Of the 10 Allied units, 5 were broken or destroyed with only the rocket battery and 2 regiments left in fighting shape. Not a single US unit was broken though some were looking a little ragged.
Now this, was how I have been envisaging the Oregon games. HOORAY! A couple of the HofT games came close but this was spot on and felt more organic. Its odd where one finds inspiration. One major stumbling block was overcome by recalling the WRG 1685-1845 rules trick of 2 hits on a 6. That resolved the dilemma of too many dice or no chance of a drastic result. Giving up the man to man melee and a subtle change to the casualty recovery/morale system lifted some other issues and allowed me to go back to having fire and movement integrated in an Action phase which was one of the things I always liked. I dropped or simplified a few other rules and suddenly the game flowed like I always imagined it. Units fell back, rallied and returned to the fray but were not indestructible and needed to be protected while they rallied.
I'm also happy to report that the 5'x6' foot table came through with flying colours. Ample room for maneuver for 20 man units and armies created to match Grant & Asquith scenarios will fit nicely and come to about the right amount of figures for what I want to paint. The rules should also be scale-able downwards for skirmishes using 1/2 sized units.
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, May 15, 2011
The Battle of Plattsburg 1843
Born and raised in the suburbs of Montreal, 5 years in the Black Watch of Canada Cadets, 5 years at the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean followed by 4 in the navy. 25 years with CPC in IT simultaneous with 23 years running a boarding kennel. Inherited my love of toy soldiers from my mother's father. Married with a Whippet, 10 Italian Greyhounds, 4 cats and a bird. Prematurely retired and looking forward to leisure to game, garden and sculpt in our 150 yr old farmhouse.