Title

Title
Tally Ho!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Montrose camapign - week 11

Battle of Ross and Cromarty - Montrose Wins

After a short break over the summer we resumed the Montrose ECW campaign. Following a recent run of success Montrose was now well ahead with Scotland very close to falling entirely to the Royalist forces. This would therefore be the final battle of the campaign should Montrose win.

The Scenario

Once again this was straightforward pitched battle with both sides seeking to inflict maximum damage on their opponents - the winner being the first to rout 50% of the enemy. The victory markers in the village each counted as 1 routed unit.

Covenanter Forces8* Foot (1 * Vets)
1 * Field artillery
5 * Horse (2.5 regts)
1 * Forlorn Hope (Vets)

Montrose Forces
3 * Vet Foot (Irish)
5 * Gordon Foot (3 Raw)
3 * Highlanders
1 * Field artillery
4 * Horse (2 regts)
1 * Light gun

The Battle

The two sides adopted slightly different plans on this occasion. The Covenanters launched a general assault on their right and centre but refused their left as they found their cavalry facing foot. Montrose went for something closer to the Bulls Horns with Horse attacking on the left and Highlanders and Gordon foot on the right,
Stuart the Elder points-out his attacking foot. Montrose horse in the distance

Lowlanders and highlanders attack
On Montrose right his Raw lowland foot made good progress against the Covenanter horse but the highlanders were repulsed by the Veteran Forlorn Hope holding the village. In the centre the Covenanter foot advanced steadily in two lines - this looked a strong position as Irish Brigade was thinly spread with no reserves. The Wargames gods are fickle though, and for the second battle in a row the Irish Brigades shooting was deadly, quickly destroying the first rank of attackers.

Highlanders make slow progress in the village

Covenanter foot under heavy fire

Over on Montrose left the Horse made good progress against their outnumbered opponents and were able to push them  back, threatening the flank of the Covenanters. In the centre the slaughter continued with the Irish brigade routing several units of the enemy foot for little apparent damage.

Montrose Horse dominates the field

Still no progress for the Highlanders

Covenanter foot quits the field
In a slightly bizarre, but understandable, mix-up the Covenanter lancers on their left launched an unsupported frontal charge on the Gordon Foot. It turned-out the blue bonnets had led them to believe they were Highlanders. Needless to say it did not go well for the Horse. 

Opps
With the centre crumbling, and the flanks in trouble, we reached the point where 50% of the Covenanters had routed. So a third straight win for Montrose.
View of the field

The Verdict

This victory meant that Montrose had taken a decisive lead and was 9-5 ahead in territories held. By common agreement we felt that Scotland had fallen to the Royalists and so in  June 1645 the Covenanters sued for peace.
So all-in-all a strong showing for Montrose and it was nice to play a campaign through to conclusion over a period of about 4 months. Some reflections from my perspective:

1. The games looked great and with the addition of Stuart the Elders troops we were able to field some large armies which added to the spectacle.

2. Our various tweaks to the rules worked pretty well, with large battles (15'ish units a side) fought to conclusion within 3 hours every week.

3. The simple campaign system provided some benefits to winning but obviously limited strategic scope. With both sides attacking and perhaps the territory rewards known in advance this aspect could have been enhanced.

4. Creating overlaps was the key to success as this enabled you to rapidly create unsustainable damage on the enemy. Montrose seemed to manage this more often than the Covenanters. Cavalry combats were too slow and bloody though, so in-effect they cancelled each other out and even the winners were unable to take any further part in the game.  
       

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Battle of Khota Baru 1941 - a Flames of War game



Bachok Beach.jpg
One of the Japanese landing beaches
Recently Roy hosted a game of Flames of War for the club, with the game based on the Japanese seaborne invasion at Khota Baru in Malaya. This was one of the first actions of the campaign and historically ended in a Japanese victory after some fierce fighting.   

The Scenario

The historic battle was a large affair so it was refought as a scaled-down action. The Japanese were required to capture one of two objectives near the vital  railway-line.

The Battle

The British defensive line with the gaps between the dense jungle covered by bared-wire. The Brits defended forward and shot down most of the Japanese force on the beach. On both flanks the Japanese eventually occupied terrain, but it was an expensive advance and the British line was only just turned.
 
British defensive lines

 
Japanese advance into cover

 
The Japanese light tanks break through to the coast road , turning the British first line, but with their infantry spent there is little likelihood of the tanks reaching the railway and the objectives.



Japanese armour advances, but alas in vein
The British commander chose to deploy a platoon of 40mm AA, keeping his Lanchester armoured. cars and two sections of Bren carriers in reserve . With a gun line of eight 25 pdrs and more platoons to come the Japanese did not have enough to support their toy tanks.

British artillery and AA
 
So history was reversed with the British scoring a notable victory. Post-match analysis was that the Japanese attacked too piece-meal and lacked the decisive punch to overcome the British defences.
 


Saturday, 6 August 2016

28mm Carthaginian Infantry - all completed

My intermittent progress towards fielding a decent sized Punic force has taken a step forward with the completion of the last of the infantry. Two boxes of Victrix Warriors of Carthage have yielded two units each of Veterans, Citizens, and Libyan Javelinmen.

In my view this is one of Victrix best sets so far and the Veterans certainly look the part.


Battle array


Battle array from the other side

All six units

Close-up of the citizerns 

Veterans holding the high ground

The heavies ready for battle


Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Montrose Campaign - week 10

Banffshire April 1645 - Montrose Wins

Jezzer lookalike visits the club
This week we were joined by another guest who is usually only able to play during our weekend games. As a stunt double for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, this is an especially busy time, so we're grateful he was able to attend. As a special treat be brought along some of his recent painting including some Thirty Years War Cuirassiers.  

Scenario

In this scenario both sides infantry met whilst their Horse was our scouting for the enemy. Both sides Horse then rushed back to the battlefield arriving on opposite sides of the table. So essentially both sides have a flank attack against the other. The winner is the first to rout 50% of the enemy.

Covenanter Forces
On table
6* Foot (1 * Vets)
2 * Field artillery
Flank march
6 * Horse (2.5 regts)
2 * Foot

Montrose Forces
On table
3 * Vet Foot (Irish)
3 * Gordon Foot
3 * Highlanders
1 * Field artillery
Flank march
4 * Horse (2 regts)
1 * Light gun
2 * Foot 

The Battle

Both sides adopted a fairly similar deployment as they deployed with infantry holding the available high ground with guns in support. Montrose those extended his line so that his Highlanders slightly outflanked the Covenanters line.

Covenanter defensive line

Montrose deployment - Highlanders on the right
The two sides adopted different approaches to their flank attacks though. The Covenanters led with their Horse, seeking to crush the flank held by the Irish Brigade.

Covenanter Horse attack

Close-up of Nigel's lobsters 
Montrose led with his infantry, seeking to pin the Covenanters whilst the Horse and Highlanders attacked the dog-leg in the line.  

Montrose flank attack 
The game opened with the Covenanters Horse launching an all-out assault on the Irish Brigade holding the flank of Montrose line. The Veteran Irish were able to blunt the initial attack and then blazed-away at the Covenanter Horse. Some strong shooting, combined with poor morale from the Covenanters, led to the attack bogging-down causing only limited damage. 

Covenanter's attack
The attack stalls
Over on the other flank Montrose attack faired much better. A combined infantry and Horse attack was enough to pin the Covenanter Foot. This proved fatal as the Highlanders charged into the defenders flank and began to push them back

Highlanders attack the flanks
More centrally there was a rare event when Montrose Foot managed to comprehensively out-shoot the Covenanters leaving a gaping hole in the centre of their lines.
Gordon Foot closes in on the Covenanters

In Stuart's absence Richard takes-on the pointing duties
With their flank attack stalled and their centre in retreat it was clear that the Covenanters could not win the day. So they withdrew into the gathering April gloom.

Campaign Situation

Having achieved another victory Montrose now pulls into the lead controlling 8 territories to the Covenanters 5.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Honours of War - our first game

Image result for honours of war

Background

This week we took a break from our current campaign ECW campaign and tried a new set of rules - Honours of War by Keith Flint. We are fortunate that the Cotswold is a hot-bed of wargaming authorship and so we were joined by the Keith himself to teach us the game. It turns out that Keith is a neighbour of the Stuart the Elder and followers of Keith's Blog will know they have played a couple of times recently.
 
So I dusted-off the 15mm Seven Years War troops and we prepared for an evenings play.     
 
We used the reduced distances for 15mm with unit frontages of 15cm. 
 

The Scenario

At Keith's recommendation we began with a small scenario from his book and so fought The Clash at Kutzdorf. We played British against French. The British are holding the high ground to the north of the table with the French attacking in force from the south.      
  
French first brigade - Swiss to the fore

French horse - Cuirassiers Du Roi and Schomberg Dragoons 
 
French second brigade - Walloons on the right

British battalion supported by artillery

A full brigade shot

British heavy dragoons

The defensive line 

The Battle

 
The battle opened with a general advice from the French, all except the Guards who's Dithering commander spent several turns parading his troops without actually advancing. On the French left the Light Infantry were first into action against the British. The disciplined British fire and close artillery support proved highly effective though, forcing back the initial French assault.  
    

Light Infantry and Walloons  lead the attack

The attack falters
The French Guards dress ranks....but not much else 
On the French right their cavalry brigade pressed forward around the village to engage the British horse. The initial clash went in favour of the British with their Superior heavy dragoons pushing back the Schomberg Dragoons  and later destroying the French Hussars. The French retaliated by routing the British Light Dragoons but the combat favoured the British on this flank.
 

Stuart the Elder points to his alter-ego commanding the French horse
 
The attack goes in
 
Initial honours to the British
Hussars badly outnumbered

Back on the French left they rallied the damaged infantry and mounted another attack on the British holding the ridge. This time they met with more success as the combined fire of two Light Infantry regiments was enough to rout a British battalion from the hill.

French second assault


British rout
In the centre the French doggedly advanced under artillery fire until they eventually came in range of the British. For most of the night the British had clung to their ridge not advancing a jot, so it was a great surprise when they doubled forward to attack the French.

On this occasion fortune did not favour the brave and they ran straight into a devastating French volley that sent them reeling back to the ridge with heavy damage.

French cut loose

A long shot of the field
And what of the Guard? Well once their commander was certain all was in order with their dress, they finally began a stately advance towards the village where they entered unopposed and took-up residence.

The village is secured
With the evening drawing to a close we agreed on a losing draw for the French. They had inflicted some damage but were not in shape to force the British from the heights.

British firing line

View from the hill

Verdict

This was an unusual game for Keith as it was the first outing in 15mm and a change from his usual Austria vs Prussian games. He also had 6 players to contend with who did nt know the rules! So a big thanks to him for an enjoyable evenings game and for teaching us the rules.

In hindsight we agreed that we should have started closer together - perhaps 30-40cm apart so there was less marching time needed given the reduced movement distances. It also exposes the attacker to less long-range artillery fire.

The rules as promised gave a fast and simple game with clear differences between good and poorer quality troops. The rules combine damage and morale using a single "hits" mechanism that sees units degrade, but with the chance to rally these hits once outside musket range.  So you get a nice ebb and flow as units come in and out of combat. Unfortunately darkness fell before we got a proper sense of how deadly sustained close-range fire is, but certainly multiple ranks seemed the order of the day as melees last 1 round and fire combats perhaps 2 rounds.

Again a big thanks to Keith and as he kindly left a copy of the rules we'll certainly be trying them again. So now its time to plot that SYW Russian army I've always had in mind and with Attack this weekend I will do well to resist.