In my original post I said that the scenario Steve and I played came from the Rebels and Patriots rule book published by Osprey. This was an error, the source is Jonathan Freitag's blog Palouse Wargaming Journal link. My apologies to Jonathan and to the people who had accessed the post since yesterday. The original post had now been corrected.
Wednesday, 16 June 2021
Steve purchased a set of these rules by Dan Mersey and Michael Leck and published by Osprey Games. As we like the Lion Rampant set from the same author, he thought that they may be suitable for a smaller, skirmish type game that we could play over a couple of hours, rather than our usual larger Patriots and Loyalists games (link) which may need to be carried over to the following week.
The scenario, comes from Jonathan Freitag's blog, and is set in the early days of the war and features a British/Loyalist force moving out from Boston intending to seize a cache of arms stockpiled by the local Revolutionary forces. The arms are spread through a number of caches, each of which needs to be searched by the British/Loyalist force. Each cache searched is worth 1 Victory Point, except for the one cache which contains artillery, which is worth 3 Victory Points. The caches are allocated randomly. News of the British/Loyalist advance soon spreads and Revolutionary units begin to march towards the cache.
|The British skirmishers lead the advance|
I had command of the British/Loyalist force and led with my British and Loyalist skirmishers. The British/Loyalist force made slow progress along the road, but a worrying number of local militia units began to move forward.
|Revolutionary forces begin to converge on the farm|
Fire from the militia, minutemen and skirmishers began to whittle away at the Crown units, but when given the chance, the Crown forces were able to retaliate.
|A unit of rifles attempt to outflank the Crown forces but are caught in the open by the light infantry|
|The Grenadiers attempt to drive off the unit defending the farm with a volley|
I found that engaging in a fire fight just played to my opponent's strengths; my weaker units in particular being vulnerable to enemy fire.
|The local militia inflict heavy casualties on a unit of Loyalist skirmishers|
So, with time running out (game length was c10 turns), I took a chance and launched a charge by my grenadiers.
|The Grenadiers resort to cold steel and charge a unit of minutemen|
Friday, 28 May 2021
The last time my Napoleonic troops were on the table was nearly 18 months ago, a long gap and mainly attributable to the COVID restrictions. When Steve and I got around to organising 'skype' games it became clear that with the avaliable cameras 15mm figures were too small to use and we therefore concentrated on our 25mm collections. However, this week, with restrictions relaxed we were able to meet up indoors again and so I dusted off the figures and set up this scenario.
It is set in the Isar valley during the 1809 Danube campaign. Rosenburg's Corps is attempting to hold the line of the Isar and cover the flank of the main Austrian army in the Danube valley to the north. Mouton's corps is marching towards Ober Bruchberg, hoping to seize the bridge and then move north. Rosenberg has chosen to use the hills on the western bank for his defensive position.
The Isar can only be crossed at the bridge or the ford, the stream flowing into the Isar can be crossed by infantry and cavalry, but artillery must use the ford. To the north and west of Klein Sandling are woods which reduce formed infantry to half speed and are impassable to cavalry. The swampy ground from which the stream flows is impassable to all troops.
Rosenberg deployed Bartenstein's infantry division on the hill to the south of Ober Bruchberg with one battalion, 1st battalion Deutschmeister, in the town itself. Mohr's infantry division was on the hill to the north of Ober Bruchberg and Frimont's infantry division was in the area beyond the stream of the Isar. Nostitz's light cavalry division was placed in reserve on the eastern bank of the Isar, able to move north or south as required. Rosenberg's plan was for Mohr to hold the hill to the north of Ober Bruchberg, Frimont to advance onto the high ground and then swing south-west to the line of the stream and threaten the flank of any enemy attack from the direction of Klein Sandling.. Nostitz was to move onto Frimont's left flank and pose a similar threat. If circumstances permitted, Bartenstein was to swing his left flank north-west to threaten the flank of any direct attack on Ober Bruchberg.
Mouton had the infantry divisions of Franquement (Wurttemburg) and Deroy (Bavaria and Baden) deployed on the line of the road south from Klein Sandling. Franquement, on the right, was to attack and seize Ober Bruchberg. Deroy was to attack Mohr's position and pin him in place. Sevdevitz's light cavalry division, which was deployed behind Franquement and Deroy, was to move south to support Franquement's right wing and threaten any infantry advancing from the hill to the south of the town. On the 'French' left, Fontanelli's Italian division was only just arriving. It was to pass to the north of Klein Sandling and attack Mohr's flank with one brigade and use the other to hold the line of the stream.
Preceded by artillery fire, the French attack moved forward. Initially good progress was made, but Mouton's divisional commanders soon began to face problems. Franquement had to move one brigade to his right as Bartenstein's leading battalions moved off the hill towards him. Sevdevitz's light cavalry took their time moving onto his flank and meanwhile a lively battle had erupted between the rival skirmisher screens.
|The French left: Deroy ready to advance and Fontanelli just arriving|
|The French right: the skirmisher screens come in range|
In the centre, Deroi's advance began to break up. The Bavarian brigade continued towards Mohr, but the Baden brigade halted. If they advanced further they would be threatened by Nostitz's light cavalry which was massing just beyond the stream. The plan had called for Deroy's flank to be covered by Fontanelli, but he had run into problems.
|The Klein Sandling bottleneck|
The gap between Klein Sandling and the woods was narrow so Fontanelli continued to advance in column. However, Frimont had rushed forward his artillery and the columns were in effective range and suffered severe casulaties as they moved forward. The Austrian skirmishers also made a nuisance of themselves and the Italians deployed into line, slowing their advance. Encouraged, Frimont now advanced his line battalions onto the hill and then down towards the stream, flanking the Italians. The leading brigade moved left to meet this threat, slowing the advance of the second brigade which was supposed to be helping the Badeners.
|Franquement advances with cavalry support|
|and are driven off|
|Zach stand firm|
|Frimont moves forward|
|3rd battalion Deutschmeister disintegrate|
Nearer the river, the Landwehr looked on in horror as the regular line infantry scattered and the Wurttemburg cavalry followed up in their direction. All cohesion seemed to evaporate and they were swept away by the cavalry.
Sunday, 16 May 2021
|Sir Royston ready to advance|
|Sir Andrew's men cross the ford. In the background the vanguard cover the infantry advance|
|The first Royalist setback|
|More of Sir Royston's cavalry are driven back|
|More Parliamentary infantry enter the fray|
|Sir Royston's last throw of the dice defeated|
|The Royalist infantry in the enclosure routed|
Sunday, 2 May 2021
For our latest game we returned to the exploits of the Graf von Grommit and the Comte de Salle Forde. The town and fortress of Landau has been besieged by the French forces and von Grommit has been given the task of raising the siege. After waiting several days for reinforcements which did not arrive as promised, he determined to tackle the task anyway. The delay has allowed the Comte to become aware of the allied project and he has made plans to use part of the besieging force to hold off the allies. Through a mutual lack of careful reconnaissance, both commanders have been surprised by the proximity of their opponent and this has led to a somewhat hurried move to deploy for battle. Once on the field of battle, Von Grommit has discovered that the orders for the artillery have not been sent; an aide was immediately sent with a copy of the orders plus instructions to get the artillery forward as soon as possible. Salle Forde also had problems, one of his infantry brigades had been delayed and he therefore found himself significantly outnumbered in infantry.
|The initial cavalry clash on the allied right|
The Veningen Gendarmes followed up and crashed into regiment Talmont. This regiment stood firm and drove back the allied horse, which disordered the cuirassier regiment von Grommit had led forward to support the attack. With all the French left wing cavalry involved in the cavalry duel, the Austrian infantry felt confident enough to continue to advance, especially as they could only see one unit of infantry to oppose them.
|A 'Skype' screen shot taken as the cavalry clash near the river|
|The clash on the French left|
|The decisive moment on the French left|
The crew of the French light artillery had seen the allied cavalry victory on their left and taking a gamble, re-deployed to face them. Regiment Erbach, intent on rolling up the French infantry, charged. They received artillery fire at close range being stopped in their tracks and then fell back to reform. As they did so the first units of the second French infantry brigade appeared on the field, ready to advance and support the hard-pressed Bavaria and artillery. The cuirassiers who should have been supporting Erbach, had not received the order to advance and were still some way away.
|The final position|
Tuesday, 30 March 2021
Back in the desert this week and the further trials and tribulations of Imperial forces. A varied group of replacements for units at the front have gathered at base camp and are being sent south to join their regiments. The officer in charge one Captain Wilberforce Malplaquet Thackeray, is on his way back to join his regiment, the Royal Barsetshires. Just as he is about to leave he is summoned to the brigadier's office. "While you are going forward I want you to take a look at this hill" said the brigadier. "The cartography department believe it will be ideal for an observation post; only a mile from the telegraph office at El Abdab Halt. The area's been quiet for a couple of months, should give the new chaps a chance to experience the desert". As Thackeray was leaving the brigadier added "Oh, Latimer will be going with you. Wants to give his chaps some scouting training. Good luck. Have your report back to me within the week."
Two days later Thackeray gathered his troops together as they waited for Captain Latimer and his troopers to get their horses out of the trucks. There were three small companies, one from the Highlanders, one from the Borsetshires and a detachment of Blue Jackets who were to join the steamers at Wadi Halfa. The previous evening he had agreed with Latimer that the cavalry would scout ahead and the infantry would follow. Broken ground and scrub would be avoided to ensure good progress. Once the infantry had secured the hill and an assessment made, the Imperial troops would return to the train and continue south.
|The battlefield, the hill in question is the large one to left of centre. The Imperials enter on the right hand table edge|
The cavalry were soon ready and headed west towards the hill. Behind them came the infantry, they made good progress other than coming across a few areas of soft sand. Ahead, the cavalry spotted some movement in an area of scrub north of the hill and moved south westerly after informing Thackeray of the sighting. Later, an inquiry established that this was most likely due to a desire to have a good field of fire should enemy troops break cover and attack. Whatever the reason, Latimer's men did not lengthen the range enough, as they were came under very effective fire as they neared the hill. The unexpected casualties caused some hesitation, which resulted in yet more casualties, before Latimer gathered the survivors together and they continued south west to a position from which they could see the hill and it's reverse slope. What they saw was not encouraging. Three units of warriors were waiting for the Imperial infantry. Thackeray was informed and his response was to place the Highlanders on the right to subdue the Dervish riflemen, the Borsetshire's in the centre to face the Dervish and the Blue Jackets on the left to fire into the flank of any Dervish attack.
|The Dervish spearmen readying for the attack|
|The Borsetshires advance onto the hill in close order|
|The Blue Jackets cover the Highlanders as they attempt to rally|
|The remnants of the Blue Jackets fall back behind the sole survivor of the Borsetshires|
The writing was on the wall for the remaining British infantry. The Dervish warriors now advanced and hit first the Blue Jackets driving them back with over 50% casualties. Next it was the turn of the Highlanders who were cut down to a man. Following up the Dervish ensured the Blue Jackets now suffered the same fate.
|The Blue Jackets are eliminated the Highlanders have already suffered the same fate|
Tuesday, 16 March 2021
For our latest game Steve set up this re-working of the action near Bennington, which was part of the Saratoga campaign. Burgoyne was moving south from Canada, but his army was hampered by poor roads and supply problems. When he heard that supplies and horses were available in the town of Bennington, he detached part of his force under a Lt Col Baum to search for them. Although the bulk of the rebel forces had pulled back, the local militia units gathered to resist Baum's force. Realising he was outnumbered and expecting the arrival of some reinforcements, Baum set up a defensive position near Wilcox bridge, where the Bennington road crossed the Walloomsac River.
|The table layout|
|Crown forces deployed|
|A success for the rebels as von Mirbach are forced to pull back|
|A setback for Brigadier Quicke|
|The first push from the south repelled|
To the north, Quicke had resumed his attack, following the repulse of the continentals. Two militia units had deployed into line and were engaging the redoubt frontally. The jaeger were working around the western shoulder of the redoubt, threatening the road down which any reinforcements would arrive. On the eastern flank of the redoubt, by the river, a column of militia was heading for the bridge. To Baum's relief, the volleys from von Knyphausen's fusiliers plus the artillery drove back one of the militia units in disorder. This allowed time for the fusiliers to re-deploy and move sections of the regiment to cover the flanks of the redoubt. This made immediate impact as the rilemen were driven back in disorder by fire into their flank. By the river, the column suffered not only from flanking fire from the redoubt, but also a volley from von Mirbach, who had reformed on the bridge. The combined weight of fire proved too much for the militia, who broke and routed to the rear.
|The attack on the bridge fails|
In retrospect this proved to be the 'high water mark' of the crown day; several of the units had taken heavy casualties and this was to prove decisive in later events.
On the southern flank, General Rushe had reorganised his forces and was resuming the attack. The militia unit on the right moved forward and fired into the rear of von Mirbach who were focused on driving back Quicke's men. Caught by surprise, the morale of the unit failed and they routed back towards the redoubt on the hill. The jaeger had pulled back west to recover from the melee, leaving von Lossberg to face the majority of General Rushe's brigade. The jaeger continued to skirmish with the militia in the woods on the rebel left and Rushe moved his reformed continental infantry in that direction to bring pressure to bear on the road west.
|Von Mirbach rout|
It was not a moment too soon as up the road appeared a unit of musketeers and a unit of grenadiers. These deployed into line and shored up Baum's right flank and threatened the flank of any frontal attack on the redoubt. The musketeers covered the militia in the woods while the grenadiers moved forward and attacked the militia in Rushe's centre. Firing a volley and following it up with a charge, the grenadiers were confident they would sweep away the militia; they proved to be sadly mistaken in that belief. Standing their ground, the militia gave as good as they got, ably supported by the continental infantry. Against the odds, it was the grenadiers who gave way, routing back down the road towards the Crown base. Perhaps unnerved by this, the musketeers soon followed them. Disordered by a volley from the militia in the wood, they received another before they could recover and they too ran off down the road, past the final element of Baum's reinforcements, a field gun. This deployed by the road where the jaeger had been deployed. They too had left the field, swept away by a volley from one of Quicke's militia units which had moved round the left flank of the redoubt.
|The jaeger leave the field|
|Followed by the musketeers|
But what of events on the other side of the Walloomsac, where the lone jaeger battalion faced Longshanks brigade. Longshanks had determined to overwhelm the jaeger with fire rather than an attack and deployed his forces in an arc around the unfortunate light troops. Eventually the fire from three units proved too much and the pitiful remains of the jaegers fell back over the bridge, finished as a fighting unit. With the way clear, Longshank's now launched a column of militia over the bridge to establish a foothold on the opposite bank. Unfortunately for him, the amusette, which had spent most of the battle so far moving slowly back towards the redoubt and firing the occasional ineffective shot, chose this moment to make an impact. The heavy calibre musket ball tore through the ranks of the column and caused such consternation that the militia stopped and then ran back to their lines.
|The amusette's one success|
|The militia rout|
In desperation, von Lossberg attempted to charge the nearest militia unit from Rushe's brigade, hoping to buy some time to organise a proper defence. Von Mirbach had failed to rally and were joining the rest of the units heading back down the road west, so only von Knyphausen, the amusette and the field gun remained. The light gun deployed with von Knyphausen had now exhausted its ammunition so the situation was critical. Before the charge could be launched the militia fired and the casualties inflicted proved too much for the weary fusiliers who routed.
|The final position, the only Crown forces remaining apart from the routing von Lossberg are those in the redoubt on the hill|
With this Baum had no option but to surrender, He was surrounded, outnumbered and with no hope of relief. A notable victory for the rebel forces.
A game which duplicated the historical result. Although ultimately a defeat, playing the Crown forces was quite enjoyable, if at times frustrating. Many thanks to Steve for organising and hosting the game and to David for taking command of the rebel forces.