Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Battle of Victoria Farm

I know, I know, choosing this scenario showed a shocking lack of originality. I'm not sure how many people have played variations on it over the last 100 years but even I have done it before. (Points awarded to those who figured it out without looking) Still, its a good one and I suspect I'm not done with it yet.

   An over view at the end of the first move from behind Red's left.

The armies are the same for both sides. The original scenario gives numbers of infantry and cavalry not units but having decided on 12 and 6 figure units for this game, a minimal bit of rounding gave each army 4 units each of infantry and cavalry and 3 guns. This seemed like too much artillery for such a small force in the 1860's so I swapped one gun on each side for sharpshooters. It occurred to me that the gun crews in the original were drawn from the infantry and cavalry which suggested a reduction in numbers and the inclusion of horse artillery but I decided to just add foot artillery crews and go. Initially I added 3 Brigadiers as well as the General but they seemed like overkill for such a small force so I dropped them.

Turn 2, the artillery is deployed, ready to fire.
Using the original deployment, Red deployed one gun, one squadron and one battalion (wing? company?) on the left with initial orders to seize the church. The rest of the force was deployed on the right with a clear gap between the two wings. Blue deployed with his force concentrated around the farm on his left and center. I had initially planned to use MacDuff but as the set up progressed I decided to go with Rattle of Dice after all. 

Turn 2. The view from the other side.

The first  couple of turns went smoothly but with a do or die cavalry clash looming in the center I was forced to decide how long to continue following the original script. It had been a long week and I was tired, instead of making a decision I diced for each side in turn: 1,2: act cautiously and try to preserve the cavalry, 3,4: make a limited charge, 5,6: all in. Red moved first, rolled low and pulled its cavalry back, opening fire with its right hand gun and advancing the infantry into range. 

Blue followed suit but I over ruled the dice since their cavalry was under fire with no room to retreat. I pulled back 1 squadron and launched 2 squadrons of Blue Dragoons into the Red Infantry. One unit of infantry held but the Royal Fusiliers broke to the rear. Before Blue could pursue, the Princess Charlotte Dragoon Guards charged in only to be repulsed in turn but it was enough and the Fusiliers rallied.     

Turn 3 and both sides open fire.

The next few turns saw an artillery duel between the Church Hill and Blue's center in which Blue gave better than it took. Near the Farm, Red and Blue infantry traded fire with a slight advantage to Red but Blue occupied the farm. Red's only hope seemed to be an all out attack.  The garrison of the church was sent forward while the lancers on that side were moved to the center. Blue responded by shifting the squadron of Frontier Horse into reserve in the center. 

Turn ?? The battle rages.

An assault on the Farm by the Fusiliers was repulsed but as cavalry charge and counter charge flowed back and forth across Farm Hill, slowly the advantage shifted to Red. One final joint charge by the veteran Larsen's Lancers and the Queen's Lancers, fighting their first action, routed Blues's last cavalry reserve, dropping Blue below 50% of his original units and ending the battle. 

The long string of Red defeats was finally broken. 

Colonel Flint surveys the scene of his regiment's first victory.

And so ended another brisk little action which left all sorts of thoughts bubbling in my brain. I'm going to let them simmer for a day or so then I'll have more to say.


  1. Great game - rules seemed to work well.

  2. No matter, if 1000 others played that battle - your scenario is an eyecatcher and your written description is exciting and humourous. I like your style so much! Fantastic arrangement, also with the used clours and tabletop pieces.

    1. Peter, thank you, I'm afraid the table is no match for your beautiful set up, like in your Rosbach, but I hope the simple, improvised look calls to mind the imagination and temporary nature of real toy soldiers and I'm glad you enjoy the narratives.

  3. Very nice report, beautiful figures and houses, and great write-up!

  4. To my shame I completely missed which battle that was meant to be.

  5. Ross Mac,

    Funnily enough I was thinking of using the map of Hook's Farm from H G Wells' book as the basis of my next Cyberboard trial map ... and your battle report (which was a great one as usual!) has convinced me to do so.

    All the best,


    1. I'll look forward to seeing that, and the follow up game!

  6. I don't think one can go far wrong with the Hook's Farm scenario for a quick one-off game, especially if one is feeling a bit jaded with things. I keep meaning to do it with ECW forces - the farm could become a fortified manor house, and the church the central building in the nearby village. If the farm was replaced by an earlier castle tower, with some 'modern' earthworks, one could easily stage a small siege, typical of many local actions in the Civil War.

    1. Good idea which could be translated across the pond or to India.

  7. Hello Ross:
    Coming back to your blog after a time away. Looks like a classical tactical problem, though, like young Kinch, I don't recognize it,
    Is Rattle of Dice a new rules project of yours? I don't recognize the name.

    1. It was Hook's Farm, the example game from HG Well's Little Wars. (A book that the young Kinch is very familiar with hence his chagrin)

      Rattle of Dice is a 2 sides of the page, stripped down, throw away, set of rules that I posted in June. Part MacDuff, part Hearts of Tin, part some old ideas and part some new variations. Not sure where its all going except for more games once this unusually hot summer fades to fall.

  8. Ross, I never cease to be inspired by your enthusiasm for this hobby of ours. Always an enjoyable read, but the pictures are a source of true pleasure, a fine collection of figures. Long may it continue.