Robert Wingrave's blog

English Civil War - Early War

Our quest to find a set of rules for this period continued. Richard brought along his great collection of 15mm figures and we tried Field of Glory Renaissance rules again. Richard did a sterling job of umpiring the game and he fielded two early war armies with the Royalist having Pike heavy foot and the usual good if slightly uncontrollable cavalry. The Royalist also had some Dragoons and a unit of Commanded shot. The parliamentarians had better infantry and their cavalry was inferior although 2 units were determined horse with a unit of commanded shot.

We rolled to see who played who which side. Noel, myself, Jonathan and Patrick were for Parliament against Mark, Simon and Alan for the King. Phil watched avidly whist Richard worked hard to keep us all in check. Parliament won the initiative and Jonathan, despite being outnumbered launched his Parliamentarian cavalry forward to try and sweep away his opposite number with his determined horse in front. In the centre the parliamentarian infantry advanced forward to engage their opponents. On the Parliamentarian left their cavalry also advanced to take advantage of their superior numbers having three cavalry units to the Royalist two. The parliamentarian infantry came under ineffectual artillery fire as it advanced but the parliamentarian artillery had a bit more luck taking first blood. The Cavalry battle on the parliamentarian left was a mixed affair the Parliamentarian Determined Horse mowed down their opposition but their flanking cavalry were taken out by the charging Cavaliers. The Infantry meanwhile moved forward slowly.

At last the Parliamentarian infantry and their cavalry on the right flank were engaged. Despite being better quality in shooting the Royalist got the better of the firing and once engaged in melee they also got the better of the fight. The dice gods yet again were showing their thoughts. The Royalist could not stop rolling 6s whilst the Parliamentarians seem to see more than a few ones! The parliamentarian Cavalry on the left despite the numerical advantages were struggling to get through and were threatened with Royalist Infantry. In the centre the Parliamentarian infantry were in retreat whilst on the right wing the Royalist Cavalry had recovered and were bearing down on the remaining Parliamentarian cavalry. It look like it would be a victory for the King when time ran out. The rules worked well and we decided that another outing would be good and we all vowed to read them over the next few weeks.

ACW – 1863

We ventured back to ACW with this gaming session and used the original Fire & Fury rules. I put together some historical forces taken from the Gettysburg Orbats. 2 Confederate Corps (Longstreet 1st Corps and Ewell 2nd Corps) faced off against 4 Union Corps (Reynold’s 1st Corps, Hancock’s 2nd Corps, Sickles 3rd Corps and Sykes 5th Corps). Forces were quite similar in size with a significant number of brigades having exceptional commanders.

The terrain was random with numerous hills and woods and both sides deployed behind a screen to speed things up. On the Confederate side Noel (Ewell Corps) and Jonathan (Longstreet Corps) faced Simon (Hancock Corps), Greg (Sykes Corps), and Mike (Reynolds Corps) as Union players deploying 3 Corps to start with. The last Corps was deployed later under Patrick (Sickles Corps) later in the game. Both sides quickly engaged in attacking across the middle ground. On the Union far right Greg launched his Union Corps forward against Jonathan’s Confederate Corps and made little headway to start with. In the centre both sides engaged in an artillery duel. However after the artillery fire Simon pushed his Union Corps forward. On the Confederate extreme left Noel attacked with his forces against light opposition. However this was countered when Patrick brought on his entire Corps to face this attack. Greatly outnumbered Noel pulled back to defend his left flank.

Jonathan started to move forward the rest of the Corp in the centre to engage Simon forces (Hancok’s Corps) which was out numbered. At this point Jonathan departed and I picked up his forces. With a Confederate yell (the reality was a whimper) I launched the entire of Longstreet’s Corps forward against the Union Corps of commanded by Simon (Hancock) and Greg (Sykes). Despite having numerous advantages in the melee phase the dice gods deserted me and my attacks across the board were a disaster. Pickets Division repeated history and were utterly ruined in these attacks. Noel on the right was coming under more pressure on his right from 2 Union Corps. The game finished from lack of time but we all felt that the Union forces were likely to be victorious as I was not able to break through the Union centre. Time to make a sacrifice to the dice gods….

AWI – Guilford Court House - March 15, 1781

Noel using his great collection of 28mm AWI figures put on a re-fight of this pivotal battle in the American War of Independence. We used Noel’s homemade rules and the scenario from the British Grenadier Rule set. The Americans (Simon and Phil) were deployed in three lines the first line (The Militia) were deployed behind a fence line, the second lines behind a wooded area and the rear line in front a ridge at the rear.

The British advanced across their whole front taking some casualties from the Militia and artillery. The British player moving forward more rapidly at the expense of firing. On the British Right Rob ignoring all Military wisdom and convention ordered his skirmishers to bayonet charge the defending Militia and watched them fail their morale test and run away! First blood to the Americans. However after that set back the Militia were soon cleared from their defensive positions by bayonet charges and cavalry charges by all 3 British brigades.

The American players decided to bring forward their third line to join their second line to form a stronger firing platform. The British players advanced through the heavily wooded terrain picking up disorder markers at a rapid rate especially on their right. A bold charge by the British Cavalry (Pat) broke the American centre – largely thanks to a freak morale roll by Phil getting the dreaded snake eye roll on 2D6! Several more British attacks scattered a few more American units. The British Elite and Guards units all forced the Americans back in the centre and on their left. However the Americans got their revenge on the British cavalry destroying them with artillery fire and also destroyed another British Line unit on their right flank leaving the just Hessians to face 3 US units. The Game finished we declared as a British victory but casualties were again high as they were historically.

WWII – 12th June 1944 – Breville

Richard put on a WWII game where we used the Battlegroup rules for the First time. The scenario was taken from their Normandy Book which Involved several platoons of Paras assaulting several platoons of German infantry holding the town during the night of the 12th June. The Paras were supported by a troop of Sherman tanks, whilst the Germans had a platoon of Marder S/P guns. Both sides had various levels of Artillery support. The Paras had to capture 3 buildings to win.

The German s deployed first digging in around the town and were allowed a number of ambush positions. All players were warned about how effective machine guns were in the rules. The Paras then deployed attacking with all of their forces along their right flank. Early blood went to the British with a keen eyed Sherman commander spotting a hidden Marder and destroyed it with their first shot. The German at the start of the game were being easily spotted thanks to some great spotting die rolling by Allan and Noel on the side of the Paras. They took their first objective unopposed.However the tide began to turn as the Germans started to spot the oncoming Paras. Their machine guns began to tell as warned.

With the German right flank completely open the Germans advanced (under Rob) a platoon of their infantry to outflank the Paras. This caused the Paras (under Noel and Jonathan) to react to this slowing down their advance and moving a platoon of infantry to counter the move. A vicious fire fight occurred as result with both sides bring down their artillery with the Paras unfortunately get the brunt of their own naval guns as a result of a special rule in the scenario. The Germans after taking heavy casualties however were forced to retire behind a hedge.On the German left flank the Paras orchestrated a series of bold advances, taking very heavy casualties from the dug in German troops (Under Simon and Pat) but the Paras with their Sherman tanks managed to clear the way to reach their 2nd objective. The Germans were hanging on by a morale thread when the game was drawn to a close as we ran out of time and although the Paras had sustained a large number of casualties they will still well above their morale threshold. A few more turns and we are sure the Paras would have run. The rules were good fun but need another outing to see what they are like in a daylight game!

ECW – Early War

We are still searching for a set of rules we all like to play ECW with. We decided to have another go at using Warlord’s Pike and Shotte. I put together a fairly balanced game set at the start of the war with the Royalist having better cavalry, offset by stronger parliamentarian infantry. I added in a few special rules for most units too like, tough fighters etc. Both sides had 6 regiments of Infantry and Cavalry along with a few guns, a storming party, 2 commanded shot units and a regiment of Dragoons.

Both sides deployed behind a screen to speed up deployment. The Royalist deployed all their cavalry on their right flank. Their left flank was screened by hedges lined by their dragoons and commanded shot. The infantry was placed in the centre which was split by a wood occupied by their storming party. The Parliamentarians deployed more conventionally with cavalry on both flanks and infantry in the centre. Their extreme right flank anchored by a wood which was occupied by their commanded shot.The Royalist Cavalry advanced quickly to take advantage of their weight in numbers whilst the Parliamentarian infantry tried to quickly engage the Royalist foot. The first move saw the Parliamentarian infantry advance a triple move much to the delight of their commander Richard. The Royalist Cavalry slightly hemmed by their numbers (under Simon) engaged their opposite number but came under fire from commanded shot and artillery. On the Parliamentarian left flank their cavalry commanded by Jonathan attempted to charge and rout the dragons lining the hedge but were halted by withering fire from the supporting commanded shot.

In the centre the Parliamentarian infantry halted under disorder from shotte and artillery fire, whilst on their left the Royalist Cavalry finally made their numbers tell. The game ended without a conclusion. The rules are good fun, but we found that foot units were too easily disordered and were not able to get to a push of the pike. We also found that if you are too liberal with special rules units can become too resilient. I am sure we will test some more rules soon.

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