Showing posts with label paper figures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paper figures. Show all posts

Saturday, 13 January 2018

The Battle Of Hookham

Oh, all right, it's not really Hookham - it's just Hook's Farm with a different name. I decided it would be fun to have a go at the classic HG Wells scenario using my ECW forces. I set up two equal armies consisting of six units of pike & shot, three of horse, one of dragoons and one artillery.

I decided on Hookham rather than Hook's Farm because the eponymous farm became a village for the purposes of this battle.

Firefly Church remained a church, counting as an enclosure. Firefly is a odd name for a church (unless you take you classic TV sci-fi very seriously indeed), so perhaps we'll call this feature Hook Hall.

Anyway, controlling Hook Hall and Hookham were the objectives of this particular battle. Purists will note that the cottage and hovel weren't present. I decided that the granularity of the game didn't allow for them.

Parliament pushed forward, occupying Hook Hall. In the centre the Royalists occupied a small field which gave shooting cover to foot and forced horse moving through it to stop.

Parliament also managed to push quickly forward and grab the village, but came under immediate attack from Royalist foot and horse.

On the other flank a brisk cavalry action took place. I love the phrase 'brisk cavalry action'. Parliament had massed all of their horse on this flank, and it proved a good move. Although the action was constricted by the board edge and a wood, they were able to pull damaged units out of the fight and replace them with fresh, leaving the Royalists under constant pressure.

The Royalist horse was soon driven off, and they were forced to swing some of their second line of foot away from the advance on Hook Hall in order to cover their flank.

However on the other flank they managed to capture the village with an heroic push of pike.

The woods on that flank were occupied by Royalist dragoons, who kept up a steady fire on their Parliamentarian opposite numbers. This action was to last all game with no conclusion.

The Royalists had enemy cavalry in their rear, and responded with their surviving unit of horse, supported by the guns.

In the centre, Parliament's foot had broken against the Royalists along the hill and in the field, although they kept up a fierce counterattack on Hookham.

Meanwhile Hook Hall was now under attack.

Parliament's foot was looking distinctly shaky, with many units on their last hit. But the Royalists were close to their exhaustion point as well, and if their attack didn't succeed quickly they would have to break off.

One last push and they took the hall.

The Royalist guns held off an attack by enemy horse.

The Royalists consolidated their position in the grounds of the Hall.

Another Parliamentarian unit broke, leaving the army exhausted. With both objectives in Royalist hands, and unable to engage in offensive action, they withdrew.

The Portable ECW rules worked pretty well here. I made all units average, because I'm beginning to have reservations about how the Portable Wargame as written covers unit quality, but I'll play with that in another game, and probably witter about it in another post. Let this post stand as testament to a smooth-running, closely fought and entertaining game.

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

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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