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 23, 2016

Spring Offensive - Stuck in the Mud!

Its been 4 days since I played this game but feels like 4 weeks. Just been that sort of  1/2 busy, 1/2 lazy, March, got the "Not-Quite-Winter-Not-Quite-Spring Blues", week. I didn't take many pictures partly because I knew they weren't likely to come out well, partly because I was too busy with the game. Lowering the table to tripod height is near the top of the Toodoo list.
Long Li goes "into battery" on South Hill and opens fire in anger for the first time.

I started off with the intent of just adding a few units and playing the Great War game again but I have been wanting to do a game with more of a Wellsian/Little Wars look so some Red Coats came out and the next thing I knew I was back in the 80's in Oerberg with blackpowder breechloaders even though I've been promising myself that I would wait until I had a proper Oerberg army painted up.

The scenario was the same but the arrival dice and programmed instructions led to a rather different battle even allowing for the difference in troop types. 

Red (aka me) came on on turn 2 with everyone on the South East Road. I had with me, 6 units of infantry, 2 of cavalry, a gatling and a 4.7" gun.

Blue (programmed) came on in 2 columns, The first column, 3 Mounted Rifles, 2 Infantry, and 1 gun (Long Li finally making its debut in battle)  marched on the South-West road on turn 4. The second column with 1 cavalry, 2 mounted rifles, 1 irregular infantry and a PomPom came on the North-West Road on Turn 5. An unscheduled reinforcement of irregulars showed up soon after. (chance card). Blue's programmed orders were to ignore the crossroads and seize the high ground dominating the roads. 
Red retakes East Hill  leaving an isolated unit of Oerbergers cut off behind them but the flank is not yet won and the heaviest casualties on both sides are yet to come.   

The first couple of turns went by peacefully enough with lots of "tramp, tramp tramp" soon punctuated by the "crack,psssww...Boom!" of  two heavy guns and finally a spatter of rifle fire on the Eastern flank as some mounted rifles seized the hill  overlooking the town and engaged Red's infantry. 

The battle on the east see-sawed back and forth for about 6 turns before Red's infantry and the gatling finally drove the Oerbergers off despite suffering heavy casualties themselves. The Oerberg infantry had come forward in support but were eventually driven back by rifle fire from the Victoria Rifles ensconced in town, later  supported by the Gatling and some artillery fire. By turn 12 the Western flank and center were secure but the battle wasn't over.

It took a while longer for the battle to get going on the Western flank. Oerberg's Atlantican allies rapidly seized the astern Knoll and repulsed a rash charge by poorly supported Queen's Lancers but they made no headway against the supporting infantry in cover until the Pompom and irregular infantry came up. Just as Oerberg's morale was failing with Long Li driven off the hill by counter battery fire and most units having taken too many hits, another chance card gave them a lucky boost and 6 units got to recover a hit. It was enough to launch a new offensive which came close to cracking Red's morale. In the end though the combination of hard cover and the ability of the regular infantry to take hits saw them through and by turn 15 Blue was in full retreat. 

An overview around Turn 12, just before the final attack on the station.
(note white caps = 1 hit, red=2. Regular Infantry take 4 hits, all others take 3)
This game did confirm several issues. 
1) The Square Brigadier rules (under a new name) will work for the late 19thC and the early 20thC.
2) Bigger battles in the 1850's and 60's really need a different approach,
and
3) I still have too many different collections that allow me to play the same games but with different uniforms which is something I wanted to minimize if not avoid. If I dropped the later troops and the 54's and the 1/72nd ACW, I could do all of the games I want with the 1860's troops from Colonial skirmishes between small forces to divisional sized battles or larger but that's not in the cards. The closest to an answer at the moment is to focus the 1/72 ACW collection towards Corps sized battles including historical ones, focus the 1860's 40mm Atlantica forces on Divisional sized battles including some with European vs native armies and combine the Red/Blue Coats and the Drab uniforms and set the low level games in that turn of the century Wellsian setting proposed last year, tank and all. 

More on Spring plans and something new  in a few days. 

1 comment:

  1. Ross Mac,

    I have been having a similar lack of motivation this month. I suspect that it is down to the change from winter to spring; the days are longer and the weather seems to be inconsistent, leaving one with the feeling that one should be doing something but not feeling much like doing it.

    At least you have managed to stage a battle or two; I have just been building model warships!

    All the best,

    Bob

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