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, April 8, 2015

Bridgehead Battle

Somewhere in Atlantica c 1885
The new Oberhilse battery opens fire. Behind them the Blue Dragoons finally have their new field service uniforms. This does not seem to have helped against Faraway's artillery which has already knocked down both new troopers.
For those who have just joined us, this is a brief report on a Solo game played recently to test the current draft of my Square Brigadier rules. The toy soldiers are 40mm, largely a mix of homecast (Zinnbrigade & original), Scruby and Merten figures. The scenario is Bridgehead Breakout from CS Grant's Scenarios for Wargames. The table is 5ft x 6ft marked in 6" squares. The setting and armies are fictional. The battle is summarized in the picture captions.
A reprise of the pregame shot. Red has deployed with a Brigade Commander with 3 infantry and 2 cavalry units ready to attack Blue's right wing supported by the fire of 2 batteries. 3 more infantry are stretched across the front with 1 cavalry and 1 infantry in reserve. The right flank infantry unit is fortifying the farm buildings as a strongpoint. Blue's plan is to cross over as much infantry as possible covered by the fire of his 2 batteries. Once enough troops are available the plan is to break through the center.

Several turns in, Blue is struggling with command issues which are hampering his deployment into the bridgehead as well as his response to Red's attack.  In addition Blue has belatedly realized that his rear battery is poorly placed and out of range of everything except the farm. A long bombardment has begun.
Red's main concern so far is that its all going too smoothly and according to plan.

Red's Zouaves have taken the wood routing the Zouaves and driving back the Blue guard and artillery but the woods and river bank are making it hard to relieve the battered lead units and Blue's troops are pouring across the bridges. Briefly Blue considered using the fresh units to drive Red back from the bridge before attacking but decided to rely on the Bkue Guard to hold and launches an attack on the farmhouse and naval gun.

 As the Naval gunners began to fall to the enemy's rifles, Ross's Rifles advanced to support them. This brought them into range of the Blue artillery and if their gatling gun by the stone wall. Their khaki uniforms did not protect them from the hail of shrapnel and bullets.  It was going to be down to the cavalry to save the guns or die trying.


The next few turns saw a series of charges and countercharges. The 2nd/6th Blue infantry charged in on the farm and were held  but as they prepared to renew the fight the Red Lancers were suddenly upon them and rode them over. With their blood up the lancers swept forward and over the gatling and its escort (a jam at the critical moment perhaps?) Beside them Larsen's lancers met B Squadron of the Bluse Dragoons and drove them back with loss. Following up their success they plowed into the 1st/6th Infantry and drove them back, fleeing across the bridge before the survivors could be rallied. It was too much though and the remnants of the lancers were shot out of the saddle and forced out of the battle.
Across the field the Zouaves had suffered severe losses but were replaced by Redcoats who drove the remnant of the Blue Guards back over the bridge then repulsed  an attack over the bridge by Uhlans. Blue's guns were shifted across to the center but it was too little too late and a concentrated barrage on the bridgehead by Red's artillery forced Blue to cede the day and withdraw back over the river.   

Good fun was held by all (me, myself and I). Comments on rules and some excited thoughts on the next steps in this Atlantican affair to follow in a day or 2 along with some more new figures and a refight.  


  1. Enjoyable post and loads to look forward to by the sound of it!
    ps any thoughts on other figures that would match with my schneider semi-flats?

    1. Thanks Alan. Only the Prince August semiflat mounted cowboys and full round foot ones at the moment.

  2. Ross Mac,

    A rollicking good battle report! Interestingly there seemed to be loads of figures on the tabletop ... and yet the tabletop was not crowded. The six inches squares appear to have worked very well with the 40mm-scale figures ... and extrapolating from that three inch squares should work with 20mm-scale figures and four inch squares with 25/28mm-scale figures.

    I look forward to reading you post-battle analysis.

    All the best,


    1. Thanks Bob. Not sure the figure height relates to the grid size, it seems to be something else that changes. I'll be trying my 20mm ACW on the 6" grid soon.

  3. Agreed! This is like Hooks Farm in Little Wars. . . but even better.

    Best Regards,


  4. Thorough trouncing of Blue - thought Red had great field position from the beginning with it's Artillery pieces being well placed....very entertaining Battle- thanks for posting Ross. Regards. KEV.

    1. Well it is a tough nut. I've seen more draws than outright wins over the years with this one. Usually 15mm games.

  5. A delight to behold. The big naval gun is a real beauty. H G Wells would be right at home gaming against you.