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

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Battle of Boxindeh Island

Well, Christmas goodies and some extreme Wintery weather have induced a state of lethargy so this'll be a bit briefer than intended. (Thank goodness that the high winds that knocked out power for 12 hours did not correspond with the -20C temperatures.)

The game set up as per the scenario instructions with Red's cavalry scouting ahead in small troops.

Last week I had this powerful urge to play a more "conventional" wargame with my 54mm Toy Soldiers, and no I don't know exactly what that meant either except that I wanted something larger and more complex than a One Hour Wargame. So, I turned to CS Grant's Scenarios for Wargames and picked Scenario 4, Holding Action (2), and I decided to go off the grid using Hearts of Tin, and quickly reorganized the troops into suitable units, and laid out the armies.

The Highlanders seize the Northern Bridge, briefly...
Feeling lazy, I had decided to just lay the game out on the painted table top. This was lucky since once the troops were laid out, I realized that this was still not where I wanted to go again with my 54's. So I went back on grid, rearranged the troops into their usual Tin Army units and started to play a Red vs Blue game without so much as coming up with a backstory or setting.


Red's cavalry crosses the ford. Behind them the assault has stalled with Red initially losing the firefight against inferior numbers of Blue infantry and artillery.

Blue was tasked with preventing Red from crossing the supposedly unfordable river. With this in mind his entire force was deployed on an island connected by bridges to both banks.

Red's job was to get troops across the river and off the northern table edge. As per scenario instructions, some of his cavalry was scouting ahead to look for hidden fords. Having played the scenario several times over the last thirty something years, this called for some role playing for both sides and a die roll for Red's decision once the ford was reported.

Blue redeploys his cavalry to the West bank despite a pinning attack by Red's adhoc Naval and Rifles Brigade against the Southern bridge. 
I had spent some time writing up some clever, only slightly convoluted improvements to the Tin Army Command Control rules, improvements which I forgot to use and didn't miss. Instead, habit led me to just dice for units to move if they started beyond  command radius of their Brigadier or of the General. Simple and providing sufficient hindrance, especially when paired with the usual Initiative and Chance Card deck and a turn limit. OK, habit wins again.

The Highland Brigade is redirected to move to their right to cross the ford and continue the march North.
Red's plan was not terribly brilliant, unlike Blue's luck with the dice and the Initiative deck, but numbers eventually won out by a nose. To be honest though, the fighting was so intense that both sides initially forgot their victory conditions and for something like 10 turns it was a battle for control of the bridges. Then the players were reminded that the goal was for Red to move North by any path and for Blue to prevent him. This led to some last minute hurrying.

A late game charge up the Western shore by Blue's two cavalry squadrons beat the three Red ones, routing one and nearly routing the shiny new Bodyguard but their own losses were heavy. Alas for Blue, his Army Morale cracked at the start of the last turn when three broken units failed to Rally, This  left Red an open road for several battered companies of Highlanders to march off the Northern edge, fulfilling their victory conditions.

<<<<Please imagine the accidentally deleted final picture from turn 15 showing how close Blue's cavalry came to sweeping the North Shore clear.>>>>

10 comments:

  1. Sounds great Ross, what an impressive table!

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    1. What's the old saying? Quantity has a quality of its own?

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  3. The two mounted Union officers, charging and the one next to him on standing horse are very impressive, what is their origin?

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    1. Brian, the charging officer was part of the Union set in the small range of metal 54mm vignettes that they released in the late 60's. I had 2 of the 4 sets. He is what's keft.

      The other officer is the Miniature Molds copy of a Britain's Guards officer with a headswap.
      Strombecker Shilo box and figures

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  4. A very nice looking game, I particularly like the cavalry figures.
    -20C? Makes me feel ashamed to moan about -4C and 3 inches of snow...

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    1. Its all relative but it doesn't normally get that cold around here its back to a cozier -10 now .

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  5. I'm continually impressed by your ability to actually get in games. Thanks, by the way, for the invite the other day - it was, however, the day my son was being dropped off for the holidays, and I couldn't be away when he arrived.

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    1. It was hard at first without a regular weekly gaming group but I needed to find a way to be active without adding to the surfeit of painted figures!

      I didn't make it either, the Highway cams looked bad and I wasn't sure the power was back for sure. Having your son home sounds like an even better reason. Jeff wrote a quick blogpost with a pic 28mm Chain of Command WWII game

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