Friday, May 25, 2018

Musket Action Playtest at Camp Cromwell

French & Indian Wars

The British are on the near side, the French & Canadians on the far side.  The two buildings beside the road are objectives.  Holding both wins the game, otherwise it can be won by killing 2 more units than you lost. 
Deployment unit by unit as command dice are drawn placed in 12" deployment zone.

 Both sides advance to get within musket range.
On the near flank the British light infantry have advanced through the orchard to meet the Canadian militia.  In the centre the French infantry is pushing forward with support from the light artillery.  Right of centre the British cavalry has charged the French infantry coy on the end of their line & broke it.  The cavalry then used their consolidation move to face the flank of the grenadiers.  The Indians of each side are negating each other with ineffective fire in cover on the far flank. 
The French got the vital first command dice on turn 3 & the grenadiers got into square before the cavalry could charge their flank.  But the square was then decimated by British artillery & musket fire.
On the near flank the weight of numbers of the Canadian militia had counted & the British light infantry has been driven back into the churchyard.   The French are also getting on top left of centre.  Their grenadiers have been broken by fire & now the French dragoons are covering the French left. 
The British centre is still holding on, but looking shaky.
The Canadian militia are wrapping around the  British left flank.  The British grenadiers have broken on the right of the church.  The British right is advancing but the dragoons are dodging their balls.
The British left has collapsed.  The Canadian militia have taken the church.  The dragoons have prevented the Brits from attacking the other objective.  There was no turn 7.  The Brits have lost 7 units to 6, but the 2 objectives held make it a French victory.

Musket Action Playtest at Good games

French & Indian War:

John's British are on the far side, Jim's French & Canadians on the near side.  The scenario is a mix of No Mans Land & Key Positions.  The church & the farmhouse on the right are objectives - holding both wins the game, otherwise if one side has broken 2 more enemy than they have lost, they win.
By turn 3 the battle is taking shape.   On the left the Brits have lost their cavalry in an impetuous charge at Indians in a hedge.   Losses are heavy on both sides in the firefight in the centre.  The British light infantry are getting the upper hand v. the Canadian militia on the far flank.
Both sides have advanced their grenadiers on their left of centre.
The French dragoons charge down the road.
The French dragoons have continued down the road towards the church though there was some opinion that they should have turned left & help take out the British grenadiers who celebrated by destroying the French infantry to their front with a withering volley.  On the right the British light infantry are lapping around the French flank.  On the left centre the French grenadiers & Indians are wrapping around the British flank.  
The French dragoons dismounted & took the church, but their good work was undone by the British grenadiers taking the farmhouse.  This meant that the result came down to casualties.  The French would have won, but an unnecessary attack by their Indians on the left lucked out & that loss made the battle a draw.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

English Civil War: Seige of Worcester

This was a slightly modified version of the non-historical Worcester scenario in the Pike & Shotte book.  It was fought using Hail Cromwell, our modification of Hail Caesar for the era.
The Covenantors hold the town with 2 infantry divisions (2 pike, 4 musket & 1 highlander) & have a mixed division (3 cav, 1 musket & 1 dragoon) outside the town on each flank.  Chris commanded their left, JohnS their right.
The English had a mixed division on each flank (2 cavalry, 1 pike, 2 musket & a storming party), 3 pike & 6 muskets left centre, 2 pike & 4 musket right centre, 2 heavy cavalry right centre, plus 3 heavy guns.  Mitch commanded their left, Mark their centre & Jim their right.
The town wall has one breach from a previous seige (near the far corner).  The attackers can make more breaches with their artillery & their 2 storming parties who carry petards.  Some of the infantry carry ladders so they can storm the walls.
To win, the Engliah have to have 3 units inside the town at the end of a Covenanter turn before 10pm.
On the near flank the Covenanters repelled the initial English attacks, but the English have worked their way around their flank. 
On the far flank the Covenanters are doing well against the flanking force, but are being flanked by the English pike & shot.
Outflanked on their left, the Covenanter's left flank is about to break but it has inflicted significant casualties
Weight of numbers eventually also told on the far flank where the Covenanters outside the town are also close to breaking.
The English attack the old breach & the walls either side (yellow counters indicate the units with ladders)
The English cannon are pounding away at the wall near the 2nd tower from the corner & the storming party is setting up their petard this side of the corner.
The English forced their way though the old breach, but a counterattack threw them back out.  The attacks on the walls with ladders have been repulsed.  The storming party is preparing their petard.
Both the artillery & the petard have made breaches on the near flank.  The storming party is attacking their breach.
The storming party has broken through, but is shaken.  Pikes are attacking the other breach.
On the far flank the large English pike & shot division had been broken in its unsuccessful attacks while the storming party has made a breach, but have not yet forced their way past it.
The English have poured cavalry through the breach on the near flank.

One of the cavalry units in the town has been broken by musket fire to keep the Covenanters in the game, but another musketeer unit has pushed through the artillery breach & on the far flank the storming party has also entered the town.  This time the Covenanters fail to break any of the English units in the town giving the English the win.

It was a desperately close run thing.  All 4 remaining English divisions are on half strength, lucky to have passed break tests that would broken them in the last desperate turns, and they fulfilled their victory conditions just 4 minutes before the 10pm deadline.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Kingston Bunker Rats Flames of War Tournament 2018

The Kingston Bunker Rats Annual Flames of War Tournament was held at Area 52 this weekend.  Not having played FOW since last year, I was a bit wary of combat fatigue playing 5 rounds in two days & Chris didn't feel confident enough to play on his own.  But the Rats allow a slot to be shared if a player can't play all rounds, so Chris & I shared a slot.   I played rounds 1, 3 & 5 while Chris played rounds 2 & 4 (with me providing tactical advice).  The theme was "Market Garden" so of course Team Cromwell took a British Armoured Reece Coy with Cromwells (backed up with some armoured infantry & the inevitable 25 pdrs).

The Team Cromwell plan was to make it easy for ourselves by having a small fast moving veteran force with no complications, and to attack at all costs so we would either win or lose fast before our old brains got too tired.  We were amazed at how well that worked.  The dice gods were also kind to us when it really mattered & we had 5 very enjoyable games.
Game 1: Free For All:  We lost a tank platoon on turn 1, but stuck to the plan & kept going at the objective on our left flank.  The dice gods relented & the enemy couldn't stop us.  8 VPs.
Game 2: Fighting Withdrawal:  We were the defenders, but we counterattacked anyway.  We destroyed the enemy armour on one flank then used the Cromwells' speed to rush back across our rear to also counterattack on the other flank before it fell.  8 VPs.

Game 3: Hold the line, with us attacking.  We swarmed forward drawing the inevitable 4 Tiger ambush onto the tanks on our right flank.  Then we plastered the Tigers with smoke, converged to the left & took the objective on our left flank before the German reserves could intervene.  8 VPs.

Game 4: Breakthrough:  We had to attack a German infantry army.  Chris got lucky on turn 1, wiping out the 3 Pak 40's before they even got to shoot, but German infantry armed to the teeth with fausts & annoying special rules still got to the objective before us.  A series of bloody attacks by infantry, tanks, bugs & more tanks saw the last of our Cromwells grab the objective & then hold off a desperate counterattack just before our army could fall below half strength. 6 VPs.

Game 5: Dust Up:  This was a blue on blue v. a Canadian army with a frightening array of artillery.  Our initial death or glory charge directly at our objective on the left, which was defended by infantry & artillery, soon proved to be all death & no glory.  So this time we abandoned plan A & found a plan B.  We left a tank platoon burning in front of the enemy line & used our speed to move right to counterattack the enemy's attack on our right.  It was a desperate struggle with neither side able to take an objective.  Both sides were reduced to half strength struggling to find a way to finish off one more enemy platoon to win by army morale.  It was a matter of luck, but it was the Canadians that broke first.  6 VPs.

Team Cromwell won the Tournament by a big margin with 5 wins & 36 VPs.
Pat came 2nd & Nick Ridge 3rd, both with about 25 VPs.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Flames of War again

The Kingston Bunker rats are running their annual FOW tournament at Area 52 this weekend.  Chris & Jim are making a team entry to fly the flag for Camp Cromwell (neither of us feeling quite up to playing 5 games in 2 days).  As we haven't played FOW since same time last year we had a practice match this afternoon.  We fought a Free-For-All Mission with Chris commanding our competition list of British Armoured Reece & Jim commanding a Panzer force.  (CV Cromwells v. CT Panthers).
 It was quick & bloody affair resulting in a table load of burning tanks.  It was a British victory, perhaps lulling us into a false sense of security, but it certainly helped to get our heads back around the rules - QED.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Battle of Benburb 5 June 1646

This is a scenario from To Kill A King the supplement to Pike & Shot.
We fought using Hail Cromwell, our house ruled Hail Caesar for the era.
The Irish are on the hill on the right & are being attacked by an Anglo-Scots army.
The Irish have 7 infantry regiments of 1 large pike & 1 shot & 5 cavalry.
The Anglo-Scots have 7 infantry regiments of 1 pike & 2 shot, 5 cavalry & 2 guns. 
The A/Scots army advances with musketeers moving ahead of the pikes.  Their intention was to line the creek bank with musketeers to keep the enemy back, then cross the creek with pikes  to cover the crossing by the muskets.  The Irish sent shot forward to dispute the crossing.  On the far flank a blunder saw the English musketeers cross the creek ahead of the pikes.
In the centre more blunders also sent the Scots shot over the creek prematurely.  The irish responded by charging down the hill with horse & pikes.  The musketeers either broke or were pushed back across the creek.  The A/S cavalry tried to push forward on the flanks but were pushed back by the Irish horse. 
The A/Scots do have pikes across the creek left of centre & on both flanks. The A/S cavalry are regrouping on both flanks. 
The Irish have fallen back on the near flank.  The A/Scots are now advancing again on both flanks with foot & horse.  But the Irish foot are now attacking beyond the bridge & driving the Scots back there.
On both flanks desperate death or glory charges by the A/Scot horse have failed in a shower of 1's & 2's & both cavalry brigades are broken.  The Scots infantry is verging on breaking. 
The A/Scots conceed the battle & start to withdraw.

While it is normal for the loser to blame bad luck for defeat, even the winners admitted the A/Scots had a rough time with the dice in this one.  Their plan for an orderly passage of the creek was kyboshed by blunder dice, then compounded by the Irish always getting the 3 moves they needed to exploit the resulting weakness.  The Irish were able to turn it into a pike battle where they had an advantage  while the A/Scots couldn't get full value out of their extra musketeers & artillery.  

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Musket Action: War of Independance

Renfrey (French & Americans) v. Chris (British)
1,300 pts, No Mans Land Scenario
The Brits on the far side have their regular infantry battalion in the centre, cavalry & artillery on their right, Indians & light infantry on the their left.
The French line battalion is in the centre, Colonial regulars on their left & woodsmen on their right. In the
The regular infantry are slugging it out in the centre.  Light troops are skirmishing on the far flank.  On the near flank, the Colonials are moving to the centre rather than take on the cavalry.
 In the centre & on the far flank casulaties are mountingwith no one gaining a clear advantage.
In what could be a decisive move, the British cavalry have smashed through the French & Colonial line.
The Brits got the first command dice out of the bag next turn, but poor command dice put their cavalry down & out on a limb & it was blown away by musket & artillery fire, undoing the advantage gained.

The battle ended in a draw with heavy but equal casualties on both sides.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Marsden Moor 1644

We did not attempt to make this a particularly precise simulation, but concentrated on the main features of the battle to make a good balanced wargame.  Both sides had 2 cavalry divisions of 6 units, 2 pike & shot divisions of 6 units & a couple of guns.  The Royalists also had 4 musketeers for a forlorn hope while the North had 2 dragoons & a small pike & shot division of 4 units.

Mike, Chris & JohnS commanded the Royalists.  Mark, Jim & Renfrey the Northern Association.  All troops were standard types with command rating 8.  Rupert, CIC of the Royalists was a 9, Cromwell commanding the Northerners left wing cavalry a 10 (no bias showing there).  Rules: Hail Cromwell - our house ruled Hail Caesar for the era.
The Royalists deployed their forlorn hope behind the ditch & waited.  Cromwell lead an oblique attack from the left.
Cromwell made a measured advance with his cavalry with dragoons on his left & infantry on his right.  In the centre the forlorn hope is doing significant damage to the Northern foot as they force their way past the ditch.
On the left, the Royalist horse has chickened out  rather than fight Cromwell with their flanks under threat.  In the centre the forlorn hope has been pulled back to the main line.
Cromwell has swung round to face the now refused Royalist right.  In the centre, the Royalists are making spoiling attacks as the Northern foot fight poor command dice in their advance.
Cromwell's horse has forced the Royalits to form a hedgehog to anchor their right.  His dragoons on his left are peppering away at the Royalist horse, who are deterred from a counterattack by the dragoon's cavalry support.  In the centre, the Royalists have fallen back to their main line. 

On the near flank, Rupert has tried a cavalry counterattack on Cromwell's horse but was beaten back.  The Northern foot is now attacking in the centre.  Cromwell's attempt to make a coordinated attack on the flank of the Royalist foot failed due to poor command dice.  On the far flank The Northern horse is now advancing with infantry support on their left. 
On the far flank the infantry support gave the Northern horse a critical advantage & Renfrey's dice did the rest.  The Royalist cavalry on that wing has been broken.  The net is tightening around Rupert.
Rupert's position is now hopeless at our 10pm cut-off.

From a parliamentary perspective it was a very satisfying battle.  They had a good plan which came off.  There was some frustration at times when poor Northern dice prevented some potentially devastating charges on the left, but the dice gods balanced the books by giving Renfrey a dream run on the other flank.