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

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Square River Crossing.



Having spent a few hours on getting the revised Square Brigadier ready for another test this seemed like as good a time as any to try it out. Rather than do the encounter again I looked around for an attack/defense that would work with the terrain I had to hand. The result was a simple assault on a bridge.  I set the game in the early 1860's again so used the ACW chart.

Since Red lost the last game they got to defend. I gave them 4 units of infantry, 1 battery, 1 squadron of cavalry and a unit of riflemen. Blue got everything in the box which turned out to be 6 units of infantry, 2 of riflemen, 2 batteries and 2 squadrons of cavalry. The force seemed small so I restored the Blue Guards to Elite status, able to suck up an extra hit.  Blue units were allowed to scout 1 area of river bank each turn, discovering a ford on a roll of 6. It took most of the game but eventually the cavalry found one on the far right and crossed over. 

After an exchange of fire with losses but no clear winners, Blue charged across the bridge with one unit supported by another. The lead unit withered away but was replaced by a unit of Guards, a Brigadier went down but still troops were fed into the meat grinder. Counter battery fire backed by rifle fire pounded the lone Red battery. It was when I went to apply the Give Ground"  to extract the gun that I realized that I had boxed it in between troops and terrain and it wasn't going to be easy to get the gun out. By the time I cleared a retreat path, the battery had been shot to pieces. (It now occurs for me that I could have done retreated the guns through the infantry using the Passage of Lines rule. Oh well)

With heavy casualties in the melee, Blue's artillery advancing and cavalry coming around the flank it was time to pull back and defend the town and block the road. Too late, a counter attack by Larsen's Lancers was met and defeated, the company of Victoria rifles cut down and finally a second unit of infantry was broken and it was time to concede defeat and try to save someone.  

The game was as simple as it gets with an average number of units over all, perhaps a little small but took just a little over an hour to set up, play and put away. It also had enough tension to maintain my interest. Red's army was nearly destroyed with 5 out of 7 units being broken but while Blue suffered more hits, they were able to cycle most units out of the frontline and only lost 2 units in total. (The table would look less empty if I didn't remove figures as a way of tracking hits)  I was a little surprised at how effective the infantry fire was until I remembered that these were  Minie rifles not smoothbore muskets. Even so, I must note that Red rolled high all game while Blue brought the overall numbers back to average.    

Now I want to get some ancient or medieval troops onto the table. Hopefully that'll happen upstairs this weekend.


The rules as played are available here but I am including the ACW chart as an example..


Basic Unit Chart for the ACW
Army Commander may have ADC

UNIT
MORALE
MOVE
SHOOTING
Range/To Hit
MELEE
SPECIAL
Infantry
4
2
2 / 5,6
4,5,6

Inf with smoothbores
4
2
2 / 6
4,5,6

Elite Infantry
5
2
2 / 5,6
4,5,6

Wilder’s Lightning Brigade Infantry
4
3
2 / 4,5,6
3,4,5,6

Sharpshooters
2
3
3 / 5,6
5,6
Skirmishers,
Mounted Cavalry
3
4

4,5,6
Shock
Dismounted Cavalry  smoothbore carbines
3
2
2 / 6
5,6

Dismounted Cavalry breechloading carbines
3
2
2 / 5,6
4,5,6

Foot Artillery
Mixed battery
3
2
2 / 3,4,5,6
3,4,5,6

6 / 5,6
Foot Artillery
Rifled battery
3
2
2 / 4,5,6
4,5,6

9 / 5,6
HorseArtillery
Mixed battery
2
4
2 / 3,4,5,6
3,4,5,6
May give ground if attacked.
6 / 4,5,6
Siege Battery
2
1
2 / 3,4,5,6
3,4,5,6
May not give ground.
9 / 4,5,6
Light Artillery
3
3
2 / 4,5,6
4,5,6
May move 1 area in/out of woods
4 / 5,6


4 comments:

  1. Excellent report.

    When do you sleep? What a tempo in developing your rules.
    And the quality becomes always a step better.

    Now I read:
    Fire dice = melee dice = 2 for each unit.

    I prefer previous version: fire: 1 die, melee:2.
    It seems to me that melee must be more effective than fire.

    Greetings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also:

      Question about limbering/unlimbering artillery: one complete move for foot?
      Horse artillery halve move?
      Question about sequence of play (active player phase): ALL moves/firing friendly units must be completed on a turn BEFORE battle? (so: e.g. NOT moving friendly unit A and battle X, then after this first battle moving friendly unit B to contact and battle again unit X ). Of course the inactive player makes first his melee roll.

      Thanks.

      Lex

      Delete
    2. Hi Lex,

      1st. Melee vs Fire. At first glance Melee is only more deadly because the numbers to hit are higher for most infantry (4,5,6 vs 6 for musket troops) and because some troops get a bonus die. However, you only get to shoot in your turn while you fight the melee in both side's turn so you can actually get 4 dice per turn.

      2nd. No limbering artillery is "below the grain" of the game. It is assumed to happen as needed. One can argue that a battery that does nothing but move could go faster so if you want to mark the status of the guns, I would suggest that you increase the movement by 2 areas and deduct 1 area for limbering and 1 for unlimbering. Limbered artillery would be counted as a march column so only 1 die in melee (because they are hurriedly deploying the guns) and you could unlimber and fire without penalty. Just for comparison, a battery moving steadily could actually move about 6 areas in one turn but of course there are always hold ups and delays, waiting for orders, waiting for someone else, waiting for something and if they did that all day the horses would be worn out even though it is only 3 km an hour.

      lstly, sequence of play. That is the way it is done but I confess I kept trying to resolve the attack right away instead of waiting. But waiting allows the player to concentrate 2 on 1 or move up supports without a rule for group moves and avoids a unit being attacked twice. What do you think is better?

      -Ross

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    3. Thanks for clarifications.

      Concerning sequence of play:

      Cfr. demo “ancient rules” from Bob Cordery (see his blog): he moves and attacks sequentially with his units. This can have as effect that the active player can adopt his attack plan following the result of a previous combatresult.
      I prefer moving all units at the same time (like battle cry rules). It is also simpler and clearer; no more: after a first melee, o but I didn’t already moved this or that unit…).

      Lex

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