Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wentworth Pass 3 - Battle Begins

.It was in the fall of the 2nd year of King Michael's reign that Civil War once again awoke in Rosmark. The Council of Free Cities of the Maritime Provinces declared Independence from the Kingdom of Rosmark and invited the Dowager Queen to rule them as constitutional monarch. King Michael dispatched his army to bring them to heel. Needing time to muster the milita,  the Queen dispatched what troops she had to Wentworth Pass to hold back the Rosmark forces until dark.  

(Note: The scenario calls for the attacker to control the ridge and be able to advance past it with at least 2 units by the time limit which they suggest might be equal to the amount of time it would take to cross the table + 50%. In Charge!, infantry in column of 4's can move 15" per turn, I calculated 6 turns to march on, cross the 5 ft table and exit. Not liking a definite limit or a diced ending and being notoriously forgetful at ticking off turns, I made a deck of cards the first 8 in order, the next 5 shuffled with 1 being a joker which would indicate last turn. With hindsight, this may have been generous by a turn or 2, perhaps 7 + 4 would have been fairer but at any rate the game ended with turn 11.)    

The entrance to the pass is fairly open a few scattered woods amongst open moorland and then a ridge of steep hills with a narrow gap. Movement up or across the hills would slow troops by 1/2 but convey no other benefit. General Darnly commanded the Queen's forces. He sent the Volunteers out to find a suitable ambush position (Diced for once Rosish forces arrived, 1,2 wood on the left, 3,4 wood in the center, 5,6 somewhere on or behind the hills to be diced for later.)  Darnly placed a gun on the forward slope in the center, firing straight down the road. Behind the gun he posted the Queen's Regiment 40 strong all ranks, to the left in defile behind the hill, the Pensioners, 20 strong  and  on the right, also in defile, the St. Lambert Militia 32 all ranks. He took post in the center with 4 Carabiniers as an escort.

It was past noon when the Rosish forces arrived.  The light company of MacDuff's Regiment, 15 strong, led the way supported by a 9 man squadron of the Yellow Hussars. Behind them in column came MacDuff's Grenadiers, 19 strong, then the Irish and MacDuff's Fusiliers each 41 strong. The 2 guns of the Staarbord Battery followed, then the Pandours, Irregular infantry (militia) 32 strong and finally the King's Brigade, 41 strong. The veteran General MacDuff, honorary Colonel of the Fusiliers, was in command.

 The destruction of the Light Company. The red coated Irish form attack column in the rear.

MacDuff''s light company had spent the last 8 years as line infantry and it seemed their skirmishing skills could use some polishing. Pushing straight up the road, they came under artillery fire and responding by rushing forward. A duel at point blank range with a field gun and 3 times their number of infantry led to their swift annihilation. The Queen's Volunteers on the other hand, ambushed the Yellow Hussars and then threatened the flank of the main column, requiring the Grenadiers to be detached to deal with them.

The normal Rosish tactics call for a deployment into line to engage in a firefight with a reserve live to exploit success. Here, there was no time and the regiments were hurled forward at the ridge in column of companies. The Irish led the way, straight up the road. It was expected that the light infantry would protect them during their advance but in their absence, cut up first by grape and skirmish fire and then by musket volleys, it was clear that a column assault would fail. Hastily the Irish deployed into line while under a heavy fire.

To relieve the pressure and hopefully open a way for MacDuff's Fusiliers, the Yellow Hussars were sent against the militia on the flank.
 The militia fight surprisingly well. MacDuff's can be seen beginning their ascent in the background.

The Hussars, confident of victory, forced  their horses up the slope. The militia, determined to fight for their independence, wheeled one company in line to face them while the other waited for the Fusiliers to climb the hill. A disciplined volley brought down 1 Hussar (they rolled to fire at close range) and in the combat that followed, despite the Hussars doubling of their dice, they tied two of the combats. They would be driven from their position but would be intact. The Hussars pressed on for a second round. Again the militia fought well and when finally forced to surrender a prisoner and retreat, they had held the flank long enough and would be ready to fight again before the day was over.

 The fight in the center. In the back ground the Grenadiers may be seen slowly driving the Volunteers back, whittling their numbers. 

While the cavalry struggled on the flank, the Irish struggled to deploy under fire but were broken and forced to retire in disorder. MacDuff's Fusiliers with 40 veteran regulars against 15 militia pressed up the hill firing as they went but the aim of the militia was deadly while the Fusliers, winded by the climb shot wildly. .
On the left the Pensioners crest the hill and open fire on the Pandours while in the distance the Fusiliers crest the hill and prepare to charge down into the militia. 

With the repulse of the Irish there was a lull in the battle. Faced with deployment of the Rosish artillery, the Queen's troops fell back behind the hill and dressed their ranks while MacDuff brought up fresh regiments to hurl against the ridge. As the Fusiliers crested the ridge they were met by a fierce blast of musketry (boxcars on 1.5 dice giving 9 hits).  They were near the breaking point (50%+1)  but they were close enough that the enemy would not be able to fire again before they crossed bayonets (no firing  against a charge that started within 3", an important rule for columns to remember since defensive fire counts for winning or losing a melee)

The sun was low on the horizon, if this attack failed, was there time for another?  (to be continued)


  1. A most desperate affair to be sure.

    1. Especially since it was widely expected to be a walk over.

  2. This is getting very exciting !. Do you prefer the 'Charge' rules to the 'Wargames' rules by Grant ?

    1. I do prefer Charge! on several fronts.

      In practical terms it is faster and more freewheeling, moves are roughly double but musket ranges shorter. In theoretical terms it is designed more or less top down for effect than bottom up from details.

      The bottom line for me is that, for me, the games "feel" more like the memoirs I read and historical refights seem to flow more like the real thing. Subjective, personal impressions only.

  3. An exciting engagement to be sure . . . the Queen's forces are doing much better than I thought they would at battle's start.

    -- Jeff

  4. Astonishing. The Dowager Queen must be very popular with her soldiery for them to be putting up such a magnificent fight in her behalf. Desperate stuff all round. Now if the Prussians were nearby...