Saturday, February 24

"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 23 - "Defence in Depth" - Set Up and Game

Slight (well massive, actually!) deviation from the usual format this week... 

DG and I are currently playing this scenario (albeit virtually via Battle Chronicler [clicky] and with an extended hiatus currently so DG can replace an ailing PC) but there's no comparison with getting some actual metal men on the table, and for a quick solo game there's no beating One Hour Wargames, and as I was au fait with the scenario, I decided to play it in parallel...... (and if that wasn't enough "ands" I also wanted an opportunity to play this years John Corrigan Memorial Game [clicky]

Decision made, the little metal men of the American War of Independence project would march again..

This is an interesting scenario; in essence/summary, a slightly smaller defending force seeks to stop a numerically superior attacking force from exiting the defenders end of the table. Things are complicated for the attacker in that there are only three access methods (bridges) to the defenders end of the table, and of these three bridges one is accessed only via a farm/built up area, one is effectively blocked as it opens into a wood (that for scenario reasons the attacker doesn't have access to), and the third is the furthest away from the exit point - interesting conundrum!

Forces for each side were diced for on the relevant table in the book, the only change being to ignore the skirmisher column and substitute regular foot. As I was playing on a 6' x 4' table, I also doubled the number of units for each side by just throwing twice on each table. 

  • The British/attacker threw a 3 and a 4 giving them 8 Foot, 3 Cavalry and 1 piece of Artillery (which was decided to be of the Light type) - 12 units
...the sharper eyed among you will have noticed that the fog of war has already struck, and I am missing a unit of cavalry - suffice to say I never noticed until.. errrr... about now..  πŸ˜‚
  • The American/defender threw a 5 and a 6 giving them 7 Foot and 1 Cavalry - 8 units..  specific scenario requirements are that the defender needs to swap half of there troops for irregulars, so they chose to  swap 3 Foot and the 1 Cavalry - the replacement troop type were Indians, so they ended up with 4 regiments of Foot, and 4 warbands of Indians.

Rules were my go-to Will McNally ones (details as ever in the AWI Project page in the side bar) - fifteen moves (50% more than the book, due to the size of the table)

Table set up as follows:

Attacker enters from top left table edge..  exit point for attacker is the road on the bottom right edge.. The only significant terrain features (ie. everything else is just table dressing) are:
  1. the road which crosses …
  2. the river, just behind - not crossable anywhere except at ...
  3. the three separate bridges
  4. the built up area/farm
  5. Woods - classed as light - bottom left of the picture, and then two woods top centre, either side of one of ...
The farm dominates the bridge behind it - the only access to that bridge is via the farm - a hard fight, if the defender does what you expect him to. Similarly the woods dominate both entrances to the middle bridge and given there is a specific scenario rule denying the attacker access to any of the woods (due to "lack of local knowledge"), that bridge is of assistance only to the defender; you can understand why the third bridge becomes more and more attractive.😏

American/defenders set up first:

No surprises really:
  1. One regiment of regulars in the farm, with another behind ready to either reinforce them, or defend the road, as required
  2. One regiment of regulars in shelter dead centre - ready to reinforce either flank
  3. One regiment of regulars  in shelter behind the 'middle bridge woods' to give assistance to their gallant Indian allies, or to cover the third bridge
  4. The Indians are placed, one each, in the woods either side of the middle bridge and the other two warbands are covering the third bridge..
On to the game...  following is about move 2 or 3

Ave, John...  Lofty C. overlooks his little metal men still striving away after his passing..

The British "plan" (plan... πŸ˜‚) was to:
  1. put a holding force in place to stop any incursion from the farm - that job fell to von Donop's (yellow flag bottom left in the picture above) - in effect they were a sacrifice to protect the rear of the army.. it would be unlikely that they could get to the exit point in time
  2. get the cavalry across the third bridge as quickly as possible with a view to discombobulating the enemy by manoeuvring in their rear - this they've done at this stage - you can just see them beyond the wood top right
  3. two regiments and the artillery to drive off the Indians north of the river
  4. the rest to rush the third bridge
Couple of moves later:

The British cavalry are fulfilling their job, but as a result of some quite astonishing American dice throws, the plan to rush the bridge with the rest is not going as well as I had hoped..  in the right conditions, and with the right dice, Indians can be a tough proposition... here, their musketry was effective, and the British morale throws were rubbish. The first two British regiments across the bridge have been sent packing and are reforming behind the next two regiments into the meat grinder. In the meanwhile the Americans are bringing up reinforcements and the war whoops of the Indians are ringing out across the battlefield..

Couple of moves later, and as John looks on in interest (he always did enjoy watching a game rather than  playing in it.. 😊) we see the British disaster unfolding..  von Donop's have been left to their own devices as everyone else streams west to the third bridge - even at this stage of the game I had a pretty good idea the British had already lost..

British morale throws were catastrophic, and my Brigadiers and the CiC are busy helping where they can (see following - yellow dice means shaken, red dice means they're routing)..  thinking back I am fairly sure the Americans didn't do much physical damage - all the main damage was as a result of the British then failing to recover morale..

Next - apologies for the interesting yellow tinge, clearly not enough light..  anyway, three British regiments are across - two still in column of march and one of which is still on the bridge.. they are looking to drive the Indians away so they can turn right with safe flanks...  in the meanwhile the American tactic is to slowly drop back, always keeping themselves between the British and their exit point, but always just out of musket range..  the British cavalry have exited the table

Same move, but further east:

Finally across (following)! All far too late, and in too small numbers, unable to concentrate - one regiment routing (middle left) and one shaken (centre right)

Damn sightseers on the river! πŸ˜€

Last throw of the dice (next), as things are desperate - von Donop's try to force the bridge and fail (repeatedly) - brave mensch!!

End game - next - frontally attacked and flanked, the Brunswicker's have been sent packing (top right - red dice = routing)

At least two moves away from the exit point, and on the final turn, the British concede a game that in all truth they had already lost half a dozen moves before - they needed to get six units of the table but had only managed two.

Once again the Neil Thomas book delivers in spades..  best ten'ner I ever spent.. πŸ˜€


Lastly - by way of a bit of fun - what do the following have in common??

Answer next week... 😏


  1. Lovely looking game - I had not even thought of rolling twice as a way of doubling up - good. The two photos ….. do they share the same engine? I searched for images of the mini sub and then worked backwards from there :-)

    1. Cheers Norm normally I roll once and just double the results, but I thought this might add a little frisson of randomness into the equation.. PS. Answers next week.. :o))

  2. Good looking game, nice way of doubling up, like Norm new to me. I am going with Limehouse, no idea why but that's my answer!

    1. Ta Donnie - answer noted.. I like your thinking.. I think.. :o)

  3. The British dice need a bit of discombobulating it seems to me!
    Great looking game and my (un)educated guess is the engine.

    1. Cheers Matt - discombobulated indeed, but unfortunately against, not for! Every now and again, the dice gods decide the outcome well before the tape measure is even deployed and I think this was one of them.. it's a matter of joy though, that I like to think of John laughing his socks off watching the debacle unfold..

  4. Fabulous looking game! The asymmetrical OHW scenarios are among the more interesting ones, and rolling two dice gives a better spread of units for larger forces. I often allow (or mandate) unit type substitutions to get odd units on as well eg if you roll two caval in a WW1 game as German, then substitute one for a tank in 1918 etc

    1. Morning Martin, and thanks.. re. substitutions, yes, I do similar with Marlburian based games where light troops weren't common - based on the number of units I just swap lights for cavalry or foot.. a nice flexible system..

  5. An interesting game Steve and a great table (as usual) It has inspired me to get out my AWI figures but I can't clear my wargamer's block.

    1. Morning Jim - I feel for you.. as you know I struggled a bit last year with it all - it seems to me that there are either two approaches, either roll with the flow and enjoy those elements of the hobby that you are still engaged with, or do what the writers do and just ignore the block - throw a game down on the table and just stick with it.. for me it was the former (reading) but the end of year review was my kick up the backside! :o))

  6. Ah d&*n the man, I disagree (to be mild) with much of what he writes but his scenarios are constantly on my table, esp the ones that are cut down versions of CS Grant ones. One of my biggest minor beefs is that all arms forces are not possible if using his unit chart. Rolling twice fixes that (as does picking your own armies but I like the frustration of rolling up the wrong army for the mission.)

    Anyway, good post!

    1. Hiya Ross - good to hear from you.. kind of intrigued by the comment about all arms forces... my reading/application of the tables would indicate they are practically always all arms??

  7. OHW never fails to provide a fun game; my most thumbed wargames book since DF's War Games.
    Regarding the bus/submarine conundrum, I'm guessing that for both if you wanted a smoke you had to go to the top deck?

    1. Maudlin - if that isn't the correct answer, it does deserve to be the best answer.. LOL.. made me laugh.. :o))

  8. That looks like an excellent game. I've read multiple times, but never played, NT's Wargaming 19th Century Europe. Looks like another book I should add to the pile.

    1. Afternoon CK - the 19th Century book is well worth getting - think I picked it up in 2017 at one of the wargames shows as it was on sale.. I like his style and approach.. just seems to encourage you to have a go and not stick with what he writes but tinker with it if you don't like it.. 'Featherstone school' for sure..