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

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fight at the Four Arms: Interim Report

 Turns 1-6

This game really deserved a full day and my full attention but sometimes domestic duties take precedence. I did manage to fit in 6 turns during several sessions Saturday night and Sunday taking 20 - 30 minutes per turn.  I'm too tired and pressed for time for a proper narrative but here are a few pictures with notes on the game.

Turn 3 from the South.

I was originally going to deploy Faraway (Red) and dice for Oberhilse's (Blue's) attack plan but given the terrain, situation and limited forces, Faraway had few options so I just chose an attack plan for Oberhilse and deployed them then the defenders. Faraway deployed 1 battalion in the woods, a detachment in the farm by the bridge with the rest of the battalion lining the stream, the Victoria Rifles stretched out along the stream further south, a gun deployed by the lefthand (Southern) bridge and one battalion in reserve in the center. It was about turn 4 when I remembered that only the Rifles were light infantry and normally the other units should have been unformed in the woods and formed in the open not deployed entirely as skirmishers but by then the game was too far advanced to worry about it. It may have been the distraction and being tired but I also kept forgetting to draw a chance card and several times forgot that the unit in the woods was out of range of the Brigadier. 

Blue's plan was simple enough. The terrain on the left and in the center was not favourable for cavalry so the two Oberhilse Field Force brigades were concentrated there. Zinn's brigade to take the farm and bridge and push up the center while Alexander's brigade attacked through the farm hoping to cut off reinforcements and flank the town. The Allied brigade was deployed on the right largely to apply pressure and draw off reinforcements but with a secondary objective of flanking the town from that side if not stopped. The Frontier Light Horse was posted in the center to support and exploit. As the remaining infantry arrived it was to be fed forward in the center if possible with the Dragoons eventually moving to the right as a final assault force.

The farm and the skirmish line along the stream and through the woods was tougher than expected. In the woods, sheer weight of numbers and being out shot 2:1 by 1/2 their number of lucky riflemen forced the red skirmish line to fall back fighting or face almost certain destruction. They slowed Blue's advance but could not stop it. In the center the first attack on the farm was held and artillery brought up. On Blue's right skirmishers backed by columns were pushed forward and the the allied cavalry made a somewhat foolhardy dash at the gun. They succeeded in  drawing the Oberhilse reserve battalion and managed to get away unbroken but did no real damage.   The Rifles were easily outshooting the Irregular skirmishers and these were pulled back to allow the Grenadiers to advance  and charge. Despite their numbers the Grenadiers were disordered by the wooded stream and failed to dislodge the rifles. 
Turn 4 Southern Bridge.

By now,  Faraway reinforcements were at hand and were pushing forward in the center where the line was weak.  The San Carlos Grenadiers, forced to fall back after the drawn melee, were subject to a hail of rifle fire and cannister and were pulled back behind the skirmish line to rally. After some difficulties, the steam battery came forward to trade fire with the battery. At this point I decided that I didn't like the 6 man cavalry units, especially since Faraway was only going to have 2. I didn't have enough figures or room really to boost them to 12 or double the number of units and anyway, that would give me a mid-18thC century cavalry to infantry ratio. I decided just to boost them up to my usual 8.Then Faraway pulled a chance card allowing them an extra unit of reinforcements and I hauled out another cavalry unit bringing the odds up to 3:5. 

 Turn 4 Northern end.

At the other end of the table fire finally broke the garrison of the farmhouse forcing the survivor to rejoin his battalion which was also badly shot up. A charge then persuaded the unit to evade and cede the stream. In the woods, Blue's advance was slow but inexorable.

 Turn 5 Center

. During Turn 5 Faraway continued to rush up reinforcements and to not successfully rally troops. Since Blue was well away, the Royals pushed forward in march column to just behind the rallying skirmishers by the town.  Blue continued to push forward through the woods and reinforce in the center.On his right, he poured canister and musketry into the skirmish line.

Turn 6. South and Center. 

So far, Faraway had gone first each turn. (Technically they had won the initiative and had choice but when playing solo I make the high roller go first to add that air of uncertainty and lack of control.) This hadn't made much difference but it had meant that the defender had to 2nd guess the attacker's moves, and left the attacker with the potential for a double move. On Turn 6 it came. Oberhilse had been pushing forward. Seizing the initiative they charged the barely reformed skirmish line hoping to pursue forward into the march column behind it. The skirmishers had no choice but to try and hold them, Their reaction fire was severe but not quite enough to repulse the charge but in the first round of melee Oberhilse's luck finally run out and both units hung in just. The next hit would break them but the blue units had been mauled. Both units pulled out. The 6th Infantry was staring at  fresh unit of Elite infantry in line while the 4th Infantry, despite facing a tempting target, was on the verge of breaking itself after fighting all morning.  Both units took the ground and declined to pursue. In the wood though, the red skirmishers were finally caught and broken. The way was open.

Towards the center the 3rd Infantry was unable to push into the gap because of the presence of the Buffs. Because they were in the frontal arc of the Buffs they were unable to march past them or wheel to take them in flank while the Buffs stood and watched. By the letter of the law they would have had to oblique into contact in an unrealistic manner so I just allowed the two units to wheel. A fierce melee followed with neither side gaining an advantage and the 3rd Infantry was forced to recoil slightly. Further along the stream, the 1st Infantry charged across the river as did the now rallied San Carlos Grenadiers. The Victoria Rifles and the skirmishers of the 2nd Brigade gave way and retreated to avoid being broken.  Oberhilse was now across the stream all along the line and were on the outskirts of town with reinforcements and support hurrying forward to consolidate.

At last it was the turn of Faraway again. On their right they formed their line and brought up artillery while the skirmishers rallied. In the center the temptation to hold was strong but the enemy infantry was still in disorder from struggling across the stream. The Director General's Bodyguard was at hand and they were sent forward against the 1st Infantry while the Tigers charged the Grenadiers. After a brief struggle the Grenadiers gave way leaving the Tigers in control but the First Infantry was facing the DGB, famed for their poor dice. It was close, but the the cavalry was forced  to  recoil while the First Infantry clung to their edge of the  stream, 1 hit away from breaking.

To be continued.....

1 comment:

  1. Game looks great Ross and an interesting battle report too.