Monday, April 30, 2018

"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 15 - "Fortified Defence" - Setup and Game (Redux) - Part 1

After the bit of  a damp squib that was the WWII setting for this scenario, I have to admit I felt there was some unfinished business..  it's not specifically clear in the scenario set up, or anywhere in the rules, but I think that the set up for the scenario needs to state specifically that one unit only needs to be in each of the fortified area's..  the scenario is difficult enough as it is, without making it impossible.. 

So it was on a wet, windy and cold Sunday, that when I should have been sailing, I was instead in the loft, and I decided to re-try the scenario but this time set in in the American War of Independence, and this time with the added proviso that only one unit occupies each of the defences.. rules were my tried and trusted Will McNally set.

British were the attackers (they always seemed to be attacking in the war, so it seemed to fit) and forces were diced for on the standard random table, my only change to that being that if either side threw 'two cavalry' one of them should be swapped for infantry (cavalry were typically scarce in the war)..

Table set up..

I threw for the American's first, and deployed them, before then throwing for the British; as a solo game it all helps to 'throw grit in the engine' and give you something to figure and plan around.

Table set up, top view..  Americans deploy left, British enter right..
The Americans rolled four infantry, one light infantry, one cavalry - so one of the infantry units went into each of the two fortified positions (the barn, and the redoubt) - the lights deployed in the wood (the woods were classed as 'dense' terrain), a further infantry battalion deployed by the redoubt as a reserve..  the cavalry and the final infantry battalion deployed as a reserve behind the barn..

American initial dispositions

Having done that I then threw for the British; who rolled four infantry, one unit of lights, and a potential game changer, a unit of artillery - I rolled further for the gun classification and it came up medium...

Move 1: British main attack..  jaeger column flanked by Brunswickers and artillery
I took notes as I played the game - and no spoilers, but unlike the last game it went right to the wire..

Move 1: The game starts with a general advance by the British - my strategy for the British was to take each fortified position in turn. So the primary push first was to take the barn - I had three infantry regiments and the artillery to do this. On the right flank I had the final infantry regiment as "cover", but pushed my lights (the famous Rangers) into the woods where they would face off against their American opposite numbers.. 

On the other flank Erbprinz are my "fire brigade", the Rangers are heading towards the woods

The British artillery open fire for the first time and manage to inflict a morale check on the garrison  without actually causing any casualties. In return the American cavalry and infantry reinforcement behind the barn move forward to assist..

Move 2:

The defences in the barn inflict the first actual casualties of the game on the leading battalion of jaegers. In turn the garrison tests and recovers their morale. The American cavalry then make to charge the British artillery but are held by the musketry of the Brusnwickers.  In the woods the US lights take casualties from the Ranger musketry.

Move 3:

The leading battalion of jaegers rout (failed morale test, but the general advance continues with the second battalion taking over.  In the woods the Rangers charge home brandishing tomahawks and close quarter weapons.. the American lights test as to whether they stand in the face of this horrifying sight and pass! Melee on ..  in the ensuing hand to hand struggle the Americans lose badly and are sent routing from the woods - the Rangers way is clear, or is it?

The second jaeger battalion attacks the barn but is repulsed with heavy losses, and to compound matters the garrison of the barn pass morale checks again, but the American cavalry are not so successful and rout....  one last desperate throw of the dice and the American infantry battalion (barn reinforcement force) charges the jaegers so as to drive them off, but is in turn held by musketry before they can close to bayonet and butt..

Tense stuff!

End Move 3

End move 3 and the American light infantry and cavalry is streaming for the rear..  you can only imagine what is going through the head of the colonel of that line battalion!

Move 4:

The jaeger battalion attacking the barn breaks and runs, happily the other (already routing) jaeger battalion recovers to even the odds..The Brunswicker's and Erbprinz advance on the American (barn reinforcement) infantry, and the Brunswicker's charge.

The American musketry is ineffective and in the face of the charge the American infantry break and rout.. on the face of it things are going well for the British - all the reinforcement units have now been sent packing - just the garrison to winkle out. On the other side of the battlefield however, those American cavalry have slid to a halt and started to re-assemble (morale test passed)

In the meanwhile the garrison of the barn continue to take casualties from the artillery..

Move 5:

...and the British are on a roll..  clearly "enlivened", all morale checks are passed, and the various battalions turn and face the enemy and look menacing..

The Brunswicker's gird up their loins and charge home on the barn.. the garrison fire..  ineffectively! 

The garrison test to stand - initial poor dice are helped out by the fact that they are behind good walls, they stand.. in the ensuring melee both sides fight hard, and end up with a tied result - both sides retire so the barn is unoccupied - briefly!

In the woods the Rangers find their way blocked by a battalion of regulars (the infantry reinforcement from the redoubt) who they proceed to pepper with musket balls...   from distance.. 

In the US turn the garrison reoccupy the barn...  most of the American morale checks are failed, but the highlight of the turn for the Americans is when the the cavalry, who are ready for business again, charge home into the flank of Erbprinz sending them reeling off in rout.

Move 6:

One of the juggling acts for the British in this scenario is when to trigger the "refit" clause.. move 6 is close to half way through the game - the British should have taken the barn by now and be on their way to the redoubt..  they haven't, and aren't, but they still have a fair force left and it would be a shame to waste that, and besides, the barn is there's for the taking...

The Brusnwickers attack again (surely they deserve laurels) but are held - the second (surviving) jaeger battalion covers their flank from any action from the American cavalry. Happily for the British, after their oh so short re-occupation, the garrison finally has enough and runs (failed morale check) - the American cavalry take the 'long view' and retire - the barn is clearly lost, better to conserve their strength..

On the other flank the line infantry still shaken, but return fire on the Rangers before their morale check fails and they break! This time the flank is open to the Rangers...

On that point the British trigger "re-fit" - tune in next time Bat-fans for the concluding half of the game!


  1. I use One-Hour Wargames for quick learning scenarios with the Battlegroup Kursk rules. To work for WW2 I found you need to put in more terrain than what is shown on the map. With more terrain the scenarios play better.

    1. Daniel - good call... always went with the 'more is better' approach when we used to play "Crossfire" in the old days...

  2. Steve - I always enjoy reading what you do with these scenarios. Even though you have a big collection of AWI figures, the random 6 units makes for exciting wargames. That's what I remember from my SELWG days many moons ago, small games in a couple of hours followed by a get together in the pub afterwards. My copy of OHW is in UK storage, will be back on the bookshelf in due course.

    1. Lee - was going to suggest you get it on Kindle to tide you over - always fun to tinker with graph paper and pens - but I note Amazon has reversed the price drop, and it's no longer the absolute steal it was when I got it..

  3. I've got this book but (he says ashamed) never got round to reading it. I'll have to move it to the top of the pile of unread books in my ever expanding collection... carefully mind you, I wouldn't want to be crushed if the pile collapsed on me!

    1. T'other Lee - it was, without ANY doubt whatsoever, the BEST ten quid I ever spent... the versatility, tinker'abilitiy, and options are endless... take this scenario - played it twice, two entirely separate periods, entirely different outcomes and events... I recommend you move it to the top of the pile forthwith... carefully... :o))