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

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bridge Over the River Skype: The First Assault

There was something to be said for testing the rules with a small simple scenario but since the core of the rules were well established it seemed better to test as many aspects of the rules as possible. I had a request from Bluebear Jeff for some town action so I included a fortified as well as several unfortified buildings. The scenario called for 8 infantry, 2 light infantry, 2 heavy and 1 light cavalry and 4 guns on the attacking side which is about 1 unit shy of the maximum for the Scenarios for Wargames book and typical of the larger Grant & Asquith scenarios as well as being comparable to the larger War of 1812 battles, at least those on the Canadian border. The defending force was smaller, only 4 infantry, 1 light infantry, 2 cavalry and 3 guns plus sappers. The trick of course was to hold the attacker back long enough to set the charges then nip back to safety without losing to many. We'll see how the various parts of that went.

Lentulus chose the attackers and divided his force with 2 brigades of infantry coming in from the North past the woods and a brigade each of infantry and cavalry supported by foot artillery coming in from the South past the hill. I deployed 1 infantry on the near bank as per the book, and another occupying the town on the enemy bank supported by a Naval Light Rocket Battery on 1 side and a Foot Artillery Howitzer battery on the other. The stone house, holding up to 8 figures was rated as fortified. My second infantry brigade was deployed watching the South and East roads with light infantry in the wood. The cavalry was held back in the center with the FTC Horse Artillery positioned to fire on either the North or East roads.    The Sappers were poised to start planting charges.

All cavalry and light infantry units were 8 strong. Infantry should have been 16 according to the plan but since most are mounted 6 to a stand at the moment, I went with 18. The guns had 6 crew for the horse, pack and foot artillery batteries and 4 for the remaining light battery and Naval Brigade rocket.

The Naval Brigade opens fire on the Frontier Light Horse.

The Oberhilse forces appeared first from the North, deploying slowly while building up their numbers. The FTC amused themselves by showing why they are normally equipped with rockets instead of real guns. Eventually additional forces, including cavalry, appeared from the South and I began to react.

Pulling the line infantry back towards town, I shifted the Princess Charlotte Dragoons to face the Blue Dragoons and Frontier Light Horse while sending Larsen's  Lancers eastward to threaten the flank and rear of the Oberhilse infantry if it should advance. The naval battery, with great precision launched two rockets straight into the FLH giving us the first disorder of the game. With a  flip of initiative they fired again and got another hit (4 dice for 5.6 - 3 hits), cheering but not enough to cause a 2nd disorder. The FLH, being both Irregular and Elite with only 1 disorder had an even chance of rallying on the next move but failed and fell back to a safer location where they rallied a turn later.

The FTC Horse Artillery burning powder while the Lancers dance with the Blue Guards.

To the North, the Lancers and Blue Guards danced an intricate minuet turn after turn while skirmishing broke out in the woods and the FTC Horse Artillery found that it was hard work to keep missing once the enemy came within canister range.  Luckily, the Howitzer, blind firing over the wood for 6's did better.

After a bit more jockeying, both armies were more or less deployed and staring at each other, while the powder barrels mounted on the bridge. (1d6 of work per turn. 6 points being needed to complete a charge  with excess points of work being lost.) Then all hell broke loose.

The Charge of the San Carlos Grenadiers.

To the South, the Blue cavalry formed and charged to be met by Princess Charlotte's Dragoons, 13 Blue cavalry against 8 elite Red ones. The dice flew and the Red were ahead by one.Major Kearney, acting as Brigadier, was at hand though. 1 more die to roll, 4,5,6 and the melee was drawn, 2,3 Blue would be defeated and on a 1 the Major would be lost as well. A 4 duly came up and both sides pulled back to rally. Lentullus now deployed his Pack Howitzer and opened up hitting 2 cavalry and driving them back yet again to a position squeezed in between the Royal Fusiliers and the town. Switching targets, the howitzer fired with 3 dice vs the Royal Fusiliers with 2 more to overshoot on to the cavalry. Box cars! The Dragoons, decimated by artillery fire retired over the bridge.  (5 dice over 2 turns, 5 or 6 to hit, 4 hits!)

To the North, the Oberhilse Field Force 1st brigade and Volunteers began to push forward, clearing the woods then pressing against the new line formed by the Wye Fusliers and Horse Artillery.  Both sides opened with musket fire. My plan was to evade any charges with the Horse Artillery and hold with the infantry. The target, massed infantry battalions stacked 1 behind the other,  was too tempting though. Even the FTC horse gunners couldn't miss with 5 dice for 3 or better, well, not completely anyway. Added to the fire from the Fusliers, they were 1 short of causing 25% casualties which would have disordered the San Carlos Grenadiers, robbing them of their Fresh bonus and dropping them 1 die. Instead, the Grenadiers over ran the gun and threw back the Fusiliers. A detachment of 3 Victoria Rifles led by General Turner himself tried to stem the flood but were eliminated, Turner barely escaping capture. Onward, pressed the Grenadiers, thoroughly disordered   by casualties and 2 pursuits. Into the rear of the disordered mass of Fusiliers they crashed! Bolstered by their new Brigadier  these rallied just enough to hold the Grenadiers at bay but the bridgehead was a shambles. (1 die  for 16 Fusilers caught in the rear+ a commander's die vs 3 dice for 12 Grenadiers - 2 hits a piece)
Now at last, Colonel Flowerdew at the head of the Lancers saw his moment. They had managed to slip past the Blue Guard. Before them was the rear of a disordered mass of Volunteer infantry. The bugle rang out, the lances came down and the troopers thundered forward. The Volunteers scattered before them, Grenadiers and Lafayette Rifles fleeing into the woods. Quickly the newly formed 6th Infantry formed square but it was nip and tuck, if not for the presence in the square of Lentulus himself they might have broken before those bright lance tips. But it was not to be. With 75% casualties and 2 pursuit disorders, the Lancers were a spent force. Flowerdew led them through the enemy lines, past the rallying Fusiliers and over the bridge to safety. 

The Lancer's work for the day was done, and well done, but the day wasn't over yet.  

The remnants of the Lancers retreat over the bloody field. 

To be continued.

1 comment:

  1. I'm looking forward to the building fights . . . seems like a lot of good action so far.

    -- Jeff