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

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Battle of Rocky's Road

This was the largest battle of my 2nd Age of 54mm wargaming so far and a squeaker of a game with the advantage swinging back and forth but it was also less than half the planned maximum game size. The scenario by the way was a modification of a Thomas One Hour scenario inspired by Lundy's Lane.

It would have been a good subject for a narrative write up but I've been focusing what hobby time I have on building up armies and trying to sort out what I'm looking for in terms of rules. The rest will come.
The Queen's Hussars launch a quick charge hoping to stall the Rebel deployment. They slow things briefly but at a high price.
I actually started the game with a set of rules using an improvised old school sequence of 1st player moves, 2nd player moves, 2nd player shoots, 1st player shoots, both resolve melee, inspired by one of the sets Don Featherstone used for the little sample game in Battles with Model Soldiers. It actually felt pretty good but it was also quickly clear that there were a LOT of details that required thought, things like firing and moving: should I allow it freely or  mark units that moved or something else?

I decided to roll back the game to first contact and pull out the familiar Square Brigadier and that is where these pictures begin. 
A wider view of the same moment. The Rebel's Grey Brigade and sharpshooters have deployed on a wide front and the Blues Brigade has just marched on table followed by the cavalry rearguard. The question for General Lannigan was: "Attack the ridge frontally with as much force as possible or send one brigade to 'amuse' the troops on the hill while the other brigade and cavalry push through the gap to flank it?".

Over time, General Lannigan has shown himself to be bold but not one to throw away the lives of his men needlessly. (based on his history of rolled for command decisions) The Blue Brigade has started sidling left to pin the hill supported by the artillery while the Grey Brigade and Cavalry deploy and attack. The Guards Brigade, having left their billets at the Double Inn at dawn, have just marched on Rocky's Road and the hill now looks secure against any frontal assault.

General Douglas as impatient as ever was not content to calmly wait to be attacked. The Guards and Highlanders were launched into a series of fierce assaults, their flank  covered only by the Sharpshooters of the Director-General's Foot Guards. At the same time the Heavy Brigade was launched in a spoiling attack against the Rebel cavalry.

The Queen's cavalry was repulsed with heavy losses and the Grey Brigade pushed boldly into the gap while the Blue Brigade held firm. Off screen, the Sharpshooters were being riddled by one of those new fangled Gatling guns (once the crew figured out how to work it) and B Battery was losing the artillery duel.
It was looking pretty good for the Rebel cause.

 The Queen's army had lost several units at this point with others just barely hanging on but a brave charge by the handful of remaining Pensioners utterly wrecked Blue's cavalry and the Guards and Highlanders were still hanging on as the sun started to sink.

Only one Foot Guards Sharpshooter was left but he seemed to have found good cover and relentlessly picked off the Gatling crew until it fell silent.  The Grey Brigade had been hard hit by artillery and rifle fire when suddenly the skirl of Pipes could be heard and with MacDuff and Cu Mor at their head, the remnants of A company of the Royal Highlanders charged the Zouaves who met them bayonet to bayonet! The fighting was fierce between the veteran Highlanders and the young Zouaves fighting in only their second action but in the end, the Zouaves broke.
 There was only an hour to sunset, the remnants of the Queen's cavalry was now behind the Rebel flank and half of the Rebel units were broken. General Lannigan reluctantly ordered a retreat.  General Douglas, whose army was itself teetering on the edge, gave a huge sigh of relief and allowed the enemy to retreat unmolested while he quietly sang under his breath: "One, Two Three, Four, Five, Hunt the hare and turn her down the Rocky Road and all the way to Double Inn.."

More on rules and things another day, there are figures to paint and basing to be done!

ps: I couldn't resist and played out the last 3 turns ignoring Army Morale. It didn't change the result, partly because Red's dice got hot and Blue's fell cold.

16 comments:

  1. Intense and beautiful looking game Ross!

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  2. Army building is my problem at the moment - lots of projects wanting attention and no time left over for fighting battles. Plus the battlefield itself keeps getting boxes dropped on top of it as I continually 'reorganise'!

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    1. I'm familiar with that way of doing things, what freaks me is that I've done almost nothing else since May except when I forced myself for very short times just to prove to myself that I haven't gone all One Thing. None lasted and I'm almost worried!

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  3. What an enjoyable game to read about and how great the armies look.
    Alan

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  4. Splendid game Ross - The Guards sniper picking off the Gatling gun crew was the highlight for me

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    1. That may have been their first time in action in 80 years or so! (and I didn't fudge the dice!)

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  5. Ross Mac,

    After having a less than perfect evening, it was a joy to read this battle report. It really lifted my spirits ... and made me want to get some of my figures out and onto my tabletop.

    All the best,

    Bob

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    1. Glad to hear that Bob. Sounds to me like need to work a bit less and play a bit more.

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  6. Vey engaging narrative and great fun to follow along. Always inspiring (heading to the man cave right now to do a spot of painting!).

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  7. I know the feeling - when the game ends and you don't want it to!

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  8. I've never come across the turn order you describe, but I'd be interested to hear how it works in play. Sounds like a real advantage to the 2nd mover, but maybe over multiple turns it balances out?

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    1. I forgot to mention that the sequence usually included some form of initiative roll each turn to see who went first.

      It was not common but was essentially a variation on simultaneous move (usually with secretly written turn orders which are hard to do solo). The shooting could be simultaneous in some versions,

      The advantage each turn depends on whether the need to move first, say to grab an objective or retreat to safety or charging an enemy, was more important than shooting first or seeing what the enemy was going to do.

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