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.
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 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|
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|
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.