Showing posts with label ohw. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ohw. Show all posts

Saturday, 18 November 2017

The Action at Morton Fendlow

I finally found the time, opportunity and inclination to play another game in my ongoing ECW mini-campaign set in the fictional county of Midsomer. Regular readers of the blog will know that this involves Parliamentarians under Sir Thomas Barnaby vying for control of the country with the Royalists under Lord Standing. The background, setup and basic campaign rules can be found HERE. The first two battles are here:

Midsomer Barrow - In which the two sides met for the first time, and Causton declared for the winner.
Ford Florey - In which both sides battled for control of some strategic river crossings.

Prince Rupert's supply trains had now reached Lord Standing, despite his failure to secure the two crossings over the Waterman. Sir Thomas Barnaby dispatched forces to try and seize some of  the supplies. One such raiding force, under Sir Henry Nelson, found its return to the town of Causton blocked by a small group of Royalists:

The scenario generated was Escape. Once again I randomly determined the forces, and both sides came out about even.

The Royalists got:

1 x Pike & Shot (Pike-Heavy, Elite)
1 x Pike & Shot (Raw)
1 x Pike & Shot (Shot-Heavy, Raw)
1 x Artillery (Raw)
1 x Horse (Dashing, Elite)
1 x Horse (Dashing, Elite)

Sir Henry Nelson's Parliamentarian troops consisted of:

1 x Pike & Shot (Shot-Heavy)
1 x Pike & Shot (Shot-Heavy)
1 x Pike & Shot
1 x Pike & Shot
1 x Horse (Disciplined, Raw)
1 x Dragoons (Raw)

The Parliamentarian troops had to advance down the road and exit at least half of their units off the other side of the board. The Royalists had to stop them, with their forces appearing from three of the board edges over the course of the game.

Parliament's dragoons and horse led the move down the road, whilst a unit of unpromising Royalist infantry blocked the way. The fact that they seemed confident, despite the disparity in numbers, alerted Sir Henry to the possibility that they had reinforcements on the way.

And they quickly appeared; more infantry, with a gun in support, appeared on a hill to the left of the Parliamentarians.

Sir Henry quickly deployed as many troops as possible to open up the road, but the defending Royalists stood firm, rallied by their commander.

Unable to dislodge them with musketry, Sir Henry ordered his horse into the attack, hoping to keep them tied down whilst his other troops slipped past.

The pressure was on; Royalist cavalry appeared on the other Parliamentary flank.

Parliament foot engaged the Royalists on the hill; one of their units broke under fire, however.

Sir Henry's troops moved closer to the end of the road and their escape.

But the Royalists were closing in. Their horse charged one of the rearguard pike and shot units.

The dragoons escaped.

Strangely (a quirk of the scenario) almost immediately afterwards the final reinforcing Royalist unit appeared along the same stretch of road.

The Royalist cavalry had the parliamentarian rearguard under extreme pressure by this stage.

In fact Parliament was under pressure everywhere; their horse was still locked in a fight with the original Royalist foot unit, whilst their foot was now blocked in their escape by the fresh unit of Royalist reinforcements; veteran Cornish foot at that.

The Royalist cavalry prevailed, and their pursuit took out the Parliamentarian horse as well.

Both remaining Parliamentarian units had to escape for Sir Henry to salvage any honour. They launched a furious assault on the Cornishmen as the other Royalists closed in from their rear.

The Cornishmen held, and Sir Henry's infantry now found themselves attacked from all directions.

They put up an epic defence, breaking the Cornish foot ...

... before turning on their pursuers and almost breaking them as well.

But the Royalist horse launched a final charge which saw them routed. Sir Henry was defeated.

In campaign terms this ends the skirmish phase. With the Royalist win, and their position secured, the campaign moves into the next stage; their advance on the town of Causton itself.

This was a fairly even fight, all things considered, but the Royalists were able to use their initial unit of foot to hold up their opponents just long enough for the reinforcements to do their work. This was due to their leader performing a series of excellent rallying rolls, staving off their rout more than once. It does show how using different rules for the scenarios in One Hour Wargames can affect the balance. This particular scenario is pretty much predicated on the fact that the rules in the book have attritional loss with no recovery. It's really down to how quickly you can remove the initial defending unit. If the unit can recover hits, then obviously it will take longer, and the reinforcements will be able to pin the fleeing force more easily. I've had some reservations about leader rallying hits under these rules before, and experimented with different approaches. I need to give it some more consideration.

This game completes yet another category in my Six by Six Challenge. Any continuation of this campaign can now be done at my leisure. I now have just one game left to play. However that's a game of HOTT and it means I have to produce a new army by the end of the year as well.

6x6 - Game 2.6

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Battle of Ford Florey

My ECW Campaign for Causton has now moved into Phase 2 - Skirmishes. After their defeat at Misomer barrow, the Royalist forces in Midsomer retired to the Oxfordshire border to regroup, whilst the Parliamentarians established themselves around Causton. Prince Rupert, recognising the importance of Royalist control of Midsomer in securing Oxford, sent supplies to assist Lord Standing. The fastest route for these to reach the Royalist forces required a crossing of the Waterman, a small river to the north of Causton. Lord Standing sent a small force under Sir James Halford to secure two important fords over the Waterman. Sir Thomas Barnaby received news of the Royalist movements, and led a small fore of troops to intercept the Royalists. They met at Ford Florey, on the river itself.

The second game of the campaign is the 'Control The River' scenario, where both sides are fighting to control two fords on a stretch of river which sits between them. As before, I diced to see what forces each side got, then applied a single quality downgrade to one Royalist unit to reflect the fact that they lost the previous battle.

The Royalists, under Sir James Halford got:

1 x Pike & Shot (Pike-Heavy, Elite)
1 x Pike & Shot (Raw)
1 x Pike & Shot (Shot-Heavy)
1 x Dragoons (Raw)
1 x Horse (Dashing, Elite)
1 x Horse (Dashing)

Sir Thomas Barnaby's troops consisted of:

1 x Pike & Shot (Shot-Heavy, Elite)
1 x Pike & Shot (Shot-Heavy)
1 x Pike & Shot
1 x Dragoons (Raw)
1 x Horse (Disciplined, Raw)
1 x Artillery (Raw)

Despite the single downgrade, the Royalists had an edge in quality in this battle.

Sir James approached from the north, whilst Sir Thomas came from the south, matching his dispositions to that of the enemy.

At the east ford, the Royalist horse rode straight across to the Parliamentarian side of the river, where they ran into a determined line of foot, supported by dragoons. The Royalist dragoons took up positions in the copse to the north of the river.

Sir Thomas ordered his cavalry to contest the crossing of the ford as well.

With their overconfidence having put them in danger, the Royalists did what any cavalry would do in such a situation - they attacked. Since the Parliamentarian horse had taken hits from the dragoons in the woods, they became the main target.

At the western ford the Royalists advanced a strong line of infantry up to the river. The Parliamentarian infantry were outnumbered, but supported by artillery.

Initial musketry from the Royalists was very accurate, and the Parliamentarians suffered a number of hits.

The Royalist horse charged home.

Emboldened by their success, the Royalists pushed across the ford.

The Parliamentarian horse broke.

Sir Thomas ordered his foot forward into a push of pikes in order to offset the greater Royalist firepower and to prevent the Royalists from expanding their bridgehead.

Meanwhile the Royalist horse had pursued into a position where they now threatened the Parliamentarian artillery on the hill.

They attacked, but it was a half-hearted attack and the artillery held.

A view of the whole battle.

The opposing dragoons now faced each other across the river.

The Parliamentarian foot broke, but had halted the Royalist advance.

On the other flank the Royalist horse broke after a series of bold but futile attacks on the elite Parliamentarian foot stationed there.

The Royalists pushed another unit across the river. There shooting seemed less effective now, though.

The Parliamentarian foot now moved to take the eastern ford.

Whilst their artillery saw off the disordered Royalist horse. Yes, that doesn't sound likely, and I need to rethink how I want artillery to work  in these rules.

The fight at the western ford became another push of pikes, with the Royalist quality being offset by their greater number of pikes.

Sir Thomas's men crossed the river to the east, under fire from the dragoons in the wood.

To the west, Sir James Halford fell wounded trying to rally his men.

But the Royalists now had two units across the river.

Until one of them broke. Their second unit charged into combat.

With a firefight against the dragoons in the wood proving futile, Sir Thomas ordered his foot into the attack there as well.

To the west the Parliamentarian foot finally gave up the fight, but the artillery scattered the victorious Royalists.

The Royalist dragoons were not to be dislodged from the wood, and broke the Parliamentarian foot attacking them. They resumed skirmishing with the opposing dragoons south of the river.

And that was the end of the battle. I deemed it a draw, since the eastern ford was still contested by the dragoons of both sides. To the west the Parliamentarian artillery controlled the ford.

In the next battle neither side will start with any of their troops downgraded. But the Royalist supplies will now be delayed, since they will have to travel via a longer route.

I'm not sure what the best plan should have been here. I think the Royalist infantry were working on the right lines, since they had the strength to push across their ford. On the other flank it may have been better to have let Parliament cross before hitting them with the horse, but then Parliament could have held back and just fired at the dragoons in the wood. I'm not sure what the best plan was there.

I need to rethink how artillery works in close combat. At the moment I have it always counting as outflanked, and I don't want to go down the route of having it automatically eliminated, since that rather undervalues something which is still 1/6th of the total army. I have some thoughts, and will try something in the next game.

6x6 - Game 2.4

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Battle of Midsomer Barrow

In my previous post I gave the rules for my proposed ECW campaign using a modified version of the OHW Pike & Shot rules. This is the first battle.

It's 1642, the country erupts into civil war and many of the great and powerful rush to declare their allegiance to either King or for Parliament. In the county of Midsomer the two most powerful notables are Sir Thomas Barnaby and Lord Standing. The former declares for Parliament, whilst the latter declares for the King. The county is divided. Both men set about raising troops to secure the county for their chosen faction and, as the year drew to a close, their armies met at Midsomer Barrow.

I rolled 'Pitched Battle 1' as the scenario, which is a straight fight on an open plain. Parliament got lucky with their quality rolls and ended up with:

2 x Pike and Shot (Shot-Heavy, Elite)
1 x Pike and Shot (Elite)
1 x Horse (Dashing)
2 x Dragoons

Lord Standing's Royalists were less enthusiastic. He got:

2 x Pike and Shot (Pike-Heavy)
2 x Pike and Shot (Raw)
1 x Horse (Dashing)
1 x Horse

With an emphasis on close combat, Lord Standing elected to attack, with his horse pushing forward on his left. With a strong position on one flank he hoped that the horse could then support his out-matched infantry.

Both commanders led their horse into the attack.

The Royalist foot advanced as well. The better quality pike-heavy foot was in the centre, tasked with taking the hill the bulk of the Parliamentarian foot was defending. On their right the raw foot regiments were assigned the task of driving off the dragoons.

An initial disaster for the Parliamentarian forces saw Sir Thomas Barnaby wounded, leaving his forces in charge of Colonel Thomas Nelson.

The two lines closed and exchanged musketry. Both commanders moved to rally their foot, as the cavalry melee continued on the flank.

The Parliamentarian cavalry broke, and the Royalists pursued.

Their pursuit crashed straight into the Parliamentarian infantry covering that flank.

Sir Thomas Nelson rallied the dragoons, who were wavering under fire from the Royalist foot.

In the centre, ammunition was running low, and the Royalists were obliged to push their pikes up the hill.

Casualties were mounting on both sides.

The dragoons continued to hold on the Parliamentarian left, and Lord Standing tried to order his foot to cease the firefight which his men seemed to be losing, and advance. Some of his troops were not enthusiastic about the idea.

On the other flank, the Royalist horse were held off by a wall of pikes.

Parliament also held firm on the hill.

The raw troops facing the dragoons had enough, and both broke on the same turn.

Lord Standing tried to order an advance in the centre, but couldn't get his men to move.

The dragoons now moved to compromise the Royalist right, although they were only a theoretical danger at this stage, since they can't move into close combat, or fire into an ongoing one.

Another attempt to advance the Royalist centre failed, and another unit of Royalist foot broke under fire from the shot on the hill.

On the Parliamentarian right the foot finally broke under continuous attack from the Royalist horse ...

... but one unit of horse pursued them out of the battle.

The Parliamentarians turned to meet the threat to their flank.

Dragoons moved up in support. The Royalist horse fled under heavy fire.

This just left a lone Royalist pike and shot unit fighting to take the hill in the centre.

The result was inevitable; it routed, and the day was lost for the Royalists.

With this victory, Causton declares for Parliament, who now become the defenders for the rest of the campaign. The campaign moves into Phase 2, and Lord Standing tries to gather support for an attack on the town.

The Royalists were certainly the underdog in this fight, with a serious difference in quality between the two armies. Their advantage in horse couldn't swing things their way either. To be honest I made a mistake in their plan; really the raw foot should have covered the Royalist centre, leaving the better-quality pike-heavy foot to drive off the dragoons on the flank. Yes, the raw foot would have suffered in the firefight in the centre, but the odds were very much in favour of Parliament's foot running low on ammunition, forcing their commander to intervene or requiring them to advance off the hill. Placing or replacing out of ammunition markers is key to managing foot in these rules, and the Royalist commander consistently botched the rolls to do so. In addition, Parliament seemed well-supplied with ammunition, and none of their units ran out at any stage, which is pretty remarkable, all things considered.

6x6 - Game 2.3
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