Monday, July 02, 2007

Assault...

It's been a while since my RWB* Darrell and I had met over the wargame table (or in any other social occasion, bar the occasional email, come to that!) so I was delighted to hear last week that he was coming down for the weekend - immediate plans were therefore laid for a Saturday night game..

Regular readers will have seen the recent post on the latest unit to join my Wars of the Spanish Succession forces, these were of a Bavarian Cuirassier regiment (Weickel or Weidel), and I was keen to see them make their entrance on the table - accordingly we agreed a War of the Spanish Succession game, and with limited time to run up a proper scenario (busy at work, visitors, and etc etc etc.) I decided on a straight forward encounter game but with a slight twist.. First however, a picture of the game set up...

* Regular Wargaming Buddy..


Table edge and sides were decided by dice and ended up as the French and their allies (Darrell) on the right of the picture, with the British and allied (me) opposite. There were no scenario objectives or rules other than that the game would end after 72 turns (12 hours in "game" terms). Winner would be the one with least losses, or who had inflicted most casualties on the enemy, take your choice.. The slight twist was to do with the size of the respective armies - over time I've got slightly out of sync with my painting activities, and it turned out the French had an extra infantry and cavalry regiment more than the allies - in the end I decided to use all the available units anyway, but reined in the extra troops the French had by making the units a strength point smaller than their Allied equivalents - in game terms this meant they were slightly less "sticky" in terms of morale, not quite so effective at firing, etc. Still a difficult enemy to beat however, as there were more units to face..

French massed horse..
Initial deployments were done on a map, and having completed, units were then transferred to the table. It was immediately clear that the relevant commanders had decided on radically different approaches... Darrell had concentrated all of his horse on his right flank, and so had I! With just a small covering force on the left, I had decided on a massive assault on my right, using the cavalry to go round the flank if I could (tricky, and a gamble as it would involve a few formation changes close to the enemy) and the infantry to attack the barn. Darrell was obviously looking for a quick win on his right, and then a solid advance on a broad front (centre and centre left) with his infantry:

French infantry in column of march..
The game started with a rapid French advance in column - given I had deployed in line, it was much faster than my own. Their infantry quickly occupied the barn, the fence line running between the barn (also one unit capacity) and the village, and also the building closest to the barn (also one unit capacity). On his right the first French cavalry quickly pushed on into the gap between the corn field and the other building.. see following..


The Allies had pushed forward the single cavalry unit covering that flank to oppose them, and a melee was soon under way. In a result that was to give an ominous portent of events elsewhere, the British cavalry routed them quickly and retired to their covering position. elsewhere the British were also advancing - two cavalry regiments had successfully changed to column of mark and advanced quickly through the defile on their extreme right flank. The closest French infantry were still advancing through the woods and were unable to counter this advance and the British & Dutch cavalry were soon deployed (formation change test was successful... whew!) and the Dutch charged the French infantry in the second line driving them off in rout (not a surprise)

These two regiments of horse then drove the French infantry in rout for three turns before finally destroying them - for a commander in charge of horse, faced with routing troops, there can be few things more pleasing... it happens rarely, but when it does.... 

On the other flank the remaining French cavalry was beginning to appear (testing terrain had slowed their advance) - see following - and yes, that's the Cuirassier's in the distance. The British cavalry continued to withdraw, so as not to be flanked:



In the centre, a fight of almost Hougemont-like dimensions had opened over ownership of the barn - the French had occupied it first and were showing no signs of vacating it in the face of successive infantry assaults by the Allied's finest (Orkney and Ingoldsby - shown in the picture following) - one assault had resulted in both sides withdrawing but before the Allies could take advantage, the French re-occupied, both sides settled to an uneasy stalemate, exchanging artillery fire when possible, but unwilling to launch an all out assault. 

Time for tea and biscuits as the next moves were puzzled over...
  
Events were to finally be decided by the cavalry - in summary:
  • as the French cavalry crossed the fence line to deploy, they were caught and flanked by the British covering cavalry (unfortunately the French failed a formation change test at a very unfortunate moment) and driven off.

  • The Cuirassiers had wheeled to face the advancing British cavalry (who had continued to advance following the destruction of the French infantry). Out numbered and out flanked, however, the Cuirassiers were driven off in disaray - see following:


...both French cavalry regiments were then hounded to destruction by the British cavalry - as follows:

 
With all their cavalry destroyed, the barn finally wrested from their grasp, and holding only the village, the French conceded the day, and the British (me!) finally realised that they'd had revenge for the drubbing in the last game!

Post match analysis:
  • It was (easily) agreed that funnily enough we'd both enjoyed the game - even DG, despite the dreadful "handling" he got from my horse! DG and I have been playing a long time now and while we both want to win, the enjoyment of the game is more important!
  • Tactically, it was agreed that the British had made the winning move with the crafty flanking manoeuvre on their right - the French cavalry had got held up in the tight terrain on their flank and as a result had arrived piecemeal and unable to bring their force to bear..
  • Infantry in buildings are difficult to dislodge - as we would have expected, no surprises, and happy with the way the rules played..
  • This was the first game where we'd had a multi-unit melee - again - we're happy with the way the rules played it, basically we agreed to combine the multi unit attacker into a single "virtual" unit where the melee factors were applied only once... but each unit does get it's own melee dice, and these are added together for the overall result. Not surprising that the Bavarian's lost..
  • Battle honours in this game then to Schomberg's who were the British cavalry on the left flank that did such damage, and to the French Bourbonnaise regiment who held the barn for so long, and again multiple assaults...
  • I've been thinking a lot about how we should represent manouevre in this period - we like the way the formation change adds a frission of doubt/risk to the game, it also helps to represent the slightly slower drill in this period.. next step is to add some assistance to the rules to help with working out wheeling distances...
  • For those of you who follow these reports you will know that an equally important element of the game is the refreshments, and this time I'm pleased to report that the tea was Twining's "English Breakfast" (delicious at any time fo the day say I!), and the biscuits were McVitie's Digestives (the emperor of "dunking" biscuits) and Fox's "Delicious Sultana Cookies" (which definitely were!)

5 comments:

  1. Great game report. Good figures. Excellent stuiff Steve.

    Troops in buildings is one of those imponderables - they're hard to hit but equally they can't all fire back at you (and troops in buildings can't be as easily controlled as troops in the open - the officers not being able to see all). We use "if it feels right it stays in the rules" approach to this sort of thing.

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  2. A wonderful look to everything. The terrain is very appealing eye candy . . . and obviously has its effect on gameplay. Excellent account.


    -- Jeff of Saxe-Bearstein

    http://saxe-bearstein.blogspot.com/

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  3. Enjoyed your report Steve. I also enjoyed the pictures. I use Purbeck Terrain as it is 18 inch squares but prefer TSS(?)roads. Your extra comments about refreshments amused - you and your RWB seem to have the same attitude as did I and my (regrettably now late) RWB - hard fought games but above all fun.
    Regards
    Jim

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  4. That's a marvellous set-up and an interesting report. The terrain and buildings look excellent.

    Giles

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  5. As Steve's RWB I can confirm his game reporting is accurate as always. Main lesson learnt .. "study the terrain more closely to ensure it will allow you to do what you would like to achieve" As a result I feel I should have retained the cavalry the the rear as a central reserve where the terrain was more open.
    Looking forward to the next game!

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