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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Little Nine Years War: The Story So Far

Yes, I know, I said the next post would be that Crysler's Farm report and it will come, it was a good game and deserves something,  but there were ideas in my head, new troops to paint, old ones to refurbish, terrain to prepare, rules to clarify and a card table game to play. In due course, after checking for painting information in Andrew Rose's guide to Toy Soldiers as well as Kannick, Funcken and others, ransacking the cupboard for surplus painted ACW and Zulu war infantry to refurbish and looting the nascent Boer War project, I was ready to begin a late 19thC Cardtable Campaign using The Square Brigadier as rules. (Essentially a late 19thC version of the 20thC one ).  The rules will appear as a blog page before long.

The game took somewhere between 1 and 2 hours to reach a final, surprise, conclusion and turned out to have just the sort of look and feel I have been working towards since deciding to do a permanent downstairs card table game, based on  Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame with an improvised ACW version of Sawmill Village, back in November of 2012 .

And so dear readers, let me take you back 130 odd years, to a land far away......

_______________________________________________________________________


King Egbert, ruler of the small island Kingdom of Nottingland was, through his mother, the grandson and rightful heir of the Duke of Hungover, an even smaller Duchy on the coast of the Mainland. Unfortunately the good Hungoverian burghers got tired of paying taxes to someone who didn't work for a living and didn't conduct public policy in a way to maximize the wealth of his subjects. After a heated public debate, the Council proclaimed that the Duchy was now the Hungoverian Free State and asked the old Duke to please hand over the keys to the treasury and ducal palace and retire to his country estate. He chose instead to take a fast ship to visit his grandson. Shortly after an Nottinglish fleet appeared off the coast. The Council called the citizens  of the Free State to arms and with just a roll of the drum, the Nine Years War was begun.


The initial Nottinglish landing party, commanded by Brigadier Steele, consisted of the 1st or Grenadier Guards, the 2nd or Fullstream Guards, the 1st & 2nd Infantry battalions, a machinegun battery and a 4.7" gun with Royal Marine Artillery crew. (Please note that the tail of the column which snakes up the side of the board is technically off table following the small, unmarked path)  

The Hungoverians did not at the time have a standing army, apart from the  City Guard, but the Customs and Internal Security departments maintained several well trained paramilitary units. There was also a strong tradition of citizen soldiers  with the rural gentry and their tenants providing Mounted Rifles, the City Volunteers providing artillery as well as garrison troops and villagers everywhere being expected to turn out parties of riflemen for local defense.

The armies clashed at the little town of  Grant's Mills. Moving quickly, the mounted Burgers seized the town and their accurate fire forced back the MG but its return fire soon drove them from the town. 

The Hungoverian Infantry was slow to follow up and the Nottinglish Guards pushed forward seizing a farm on their left as well as the center of the town under the cover of their heavy artillery. The City Guard was at hand though and pressing forward through a horrendous storm of shell and bullets, took back the town in a fierce hand to hand struggle,  wiping out the stubborn 1st Guards.

As the Hungoverian City Volunteer artillery deployed between the town and the farm, an assault by the Nottinglish line infantry took back the town  despite heavy losses. A counter attack by mounted Burgers  and City Guards was wiped out  but their own losses were heavy. A final counter attack by the Border Police  took back the town and Brigadier Steele was forced to order his last Guardsman to cover the retreat of the artillery.



The battle was over but the war was just begun.

19 comments:

  1. Splendid little war well reported- can't wait to hear more...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ross Mac,

    What a wonderful little wargame! I wish I had been there as it is EXACTLY the sort of tabletop battle I love ... and I want to do something similar ASAP.

    The figures have the rght sort of 'toy soldier' look and the terrain is a nice balance between realism and practicality.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob you would been very welcome at the table. Next time you cruise across to tge New World book a few hours off for gaming and I'll bring the game down to a water front pub!

      The houses were done by a friend nearly 30 years ago for our 15mm games. They re great but I'm looking forward to replacing them with some semi-flat solid ones that will fit the grid.

      Delete
  3. Ross,
    Your pictures resemble Sinclair's illustrations in Little Wars so well. I've never cared much for the Guards' uniform, but your figures look splendid!
    Regards,
    Arthur

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Arthur, it is those illustrations that have been a major source of inspiration to me for over 40 years, even more than the text and photographs

      Delete
  4. I agree with the previous commenters. A nice little report and battle, with just the right sort of look.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Quite an exciting action with the town changing hands several times - just the sort of battle game I like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. I still find the disappearance of units odd and have to remind myself that in this sort of game, the token figures represent the effectiveness of the unit not the number of bodies.

      Delete
  6. Always enjoy your site! Just a comment though, it seems to be loading much slower, both images and print. And the pictures are all small, no longer the attractive large images. I'm using a newer android mobile device.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback Doug. Most of the posts this year were done on a new Samsung tablet with pictures taken using a mobile device but 2 of the recent posts were done on an older, borrowed, windows netbook with pictures taken with a camera. There's not much in the way of editing capacity on it and I've been having trouble with the new Google pics editor so some of these pictures were unedited and are probably bigger than they need to be.

      I'll keep that in mind.

      Delete
  7. Nice report and beautiful table!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I didn't comment on the previous post, as it sounded like good news but I couldn't quite work out what the intention was, but now I see and it looks great. It's given me lots of ideas and I'm not complaining, the best of blogging does that - call it "productive distraction" :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, distraction anyway :) I've been seriously tempted during the last 2 years to go this route, probably upstairs, using the old Britain's or maybe the 40's since the largest army would only need some 50- 60 figures and only a few of each type. Sort of defeats the idea of homecasting where volume is needed to make it cost effective. I call that a non-productive dilemma.

      Delete
  9. Oh my, add that to Norman's latest imagi-nation initiative and I may find myself painting 19th century entirely outside my plans for the year...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kicking and screaming. There should be some sprues of Esci British and Zulus kicking about somewhere.

      Delete
  10. Love the 'tipped over' dead.

    Classic!

    ReplyDelete