Saturday 21 April 2012

A Border Incident....Game Number 7, Part 1

I must apologise in advance for the somewhat hurried nature of the text of this report simply because the game was very much a spur of the moment thing. I suddenly had a couple of hours spare (the uncertain weather playing havoc with my exterior painting activities!) and so decided that the my Hexon land based material, plus the new smaller blocks and the rather nice Noch N Gauge trees I recently acquired all needed to be given a run out and the action that follows is the result.

A state of war exists between Redland and Blueland. Since this is a fairly normal occurrence between those two worthies the actual reason as to why this has come to pass is of little relevance. The armies have mobilised and whilst that of Blue was carried out with rather more urgency the armed forces of Red were not far behind. However, Blue had stolen a march on Red and a small force had crossed the border intent on securing a vital village as the precursor to a much larger attack. Through various means Red had gotten wind of this plan and so had hastily scrapped together a small force tasked with holding the small village until the rest of the army could concentrate to defeat the attackers.

The attacking Blue force consisted of four units of line infantry, two units of light infantry, two units of cavalry and two artillery batteries.

The Red defenders had two units of line infantry, two of light infantry, a cavalry unit and a battery of artillery.

For the purposes of this game each line infantry unit consisted of four blocks, cavalry and light infantry of three blocks and the artillery of two blocks (although in the pictures they have two guns and a command block). The rule used were Bob Cordery's Memoir of Battle (the 19th century set) and the playing area was 13 hexes by 9.

The Blue force at the start of the action - the line infantry and a battery of artillery using the road with light infantry screening either flank and the cavalry deployed on the right

The Red force deployed with the artillery in the centre ahead of the village and the light infantry on either flank - in the woods on the right and on the hill with the cavalry in support on the left. The line infantry is deployed in the village.

The invading Blue force, with all due speed and urgency moved straight up the main road, confident in their numbers and the quality of their commander's plan. At this stage the Red defenders were happy to be passive spectators. The only activity was a speculative long range artillery shot from the Red guns against the leading Blue line infantry unit which resulted in a hit (and the loss of a block).

First blood to the Red artillery - although the outcome was to inflict a retreat due to the cramped nature of their position the unit was forced to take a casualty instead as they were unable to comply with the 'Flag' result.

Swiftly realising that to continue down the road was to court disaster the Blue general reacted swiftly and so three of the four marching columns of line infantry swung off the road heading for their left flank in order to make use of the terrain to shield their movements and to attempt to carry the enemy position from the end of the village rather than the centre. Meanwhile the Red light infantry and cavalry on their left flank spied approaching Blue horseman and so made ready to engage them. For their part, the Blue cavalry advanced with their own light infantry covering them from the hill, almost opposite their Red counterparts.

After some long range skirmishing from the respective light infantry a Blue cavalry unit was forced back to reorganise (the 'Flag' result) whilst the Red light infantry sustained not only a 'Flag' result but also a hit. Meanwhile in the centre the Blue artillery has deployed and is about to come into action - the opposing Red artillery being singularly ineffective.

The next phase of the battle proved to be of dramatic importance as the Blue artillery, with its opening salvo, managed to virtually destroy the sole Red gun battery deployed to fire down the full length of the road! Meanwhile the rest of the Blue force pressed on - the flanking cavalry again attempting to force a conclusion with their opposite number and the plucky light infantrymen on the hill.

The Red artillery after its battering from the Blue guns - the white markers are purely as an aide memoire for yours truly!

The battle on the hill between the Red and Blue cavalry, ably assisted by a unit of light infantry apiece, continued with much enthusiasm but little tangible effect. the horsemen galloped hither and thither and the light infantrymen fired off at every opportunity and at anything in range. The Red cavalry again repulsed the Blue horsemen and the light infantry managed to not only damage the oncoming riders but also to chase them back, thereby stabilising the flank, if only for the time being.

The Blue cavalry flank attack is temporarily rebuffed (the shock was so much that my hand shook taking the photo....).

All the while the Red army stayed rooted to the village and thus far, with the exception of the artillery and the left flank light infantry, they were holding their own. This could not last though as ominously, large clouds of dust from what must be a substantial body of troops was seen on the right flanks and so the light infantry unit deployed in the woods nearest this expected advance readied their weapons with nervous expectation.

The Blue left flank attack gets under way, ably assisted by the supporting light infantry and the artillery that managed to silence the last of the Red guns. Not visible in the picture is another Blue infantry unit just below the two that are seen breasting the hill.

On the Red left flank the gallant light infantry and the cavalry again returned to the fray but the luck that had thus far sustained them in their unequal fight at last deserted them and both the cavalry and the light infantry were ridden down. The cost to the Blue force though was considerable and this 'success' was at the cost of having each of the two units reduced to but a single squadron.

The brutal battle on the flank which left the field held by barely a couple of squadrons, such was the carnage involved (and the effects of some rather good dice rolling!).

The situation for the Red defenders was now looking desperate. Blue had managed to roll up the Red left flank (albeit at a cost) and their right flank was about to begin its assault on the only Red unit in range - the light infantry currently deployed in a small wood at the end of the village. The fight was short but with only one outcome. Three Blue units engaged the light infantry and whilst they suffered some casualties the result was never in doubt. The shattered survivors fled in small groups or were quickly rounded up as prisoners leaving the Blue force in position to take the village by assault if need be. With both of his flanking positions destroyed, his cavalry and artillery out of the battle, the Red commander decided that discretion would now be the better part of valour and so ordered the retreat with the remainder of his force in order that they might fall back on the main army. The day belonged to the invaders.

Something wicked, this way comes....the demise of the Red light infantry faced with impossible odds

To be continued....


Conrad Kinch said...

The blocks look good - good to see them getting an outing.

David Crook said...

Hi CK,

I still have the other colours to label up as well redesigning the 'modern' hardware types but I was keen to get them in use to see how much better they worked out compared to the original larger size. These are so much better - both visually and as game pieces - and seeing them in action at last was a real treat. Expect more of the same!

All the best,


Sean said...

Yes, the gaming pieces look great and it looked like an interesting game. I look forward to seeing more reports.

David Crook said...

Hi Sean,

Thanks old chap!

Considering the scenario was a bit of a lash up the game played very well and is is a tribute to the soundness of Bob's rules.

I am now engaged in revamping the block armies to the new format and so more reports will certainly follow.

All the best,


SteelonSand said...

I see the Hexon is really coming into it's - looking particularly effective now with the flocked hills - if I wasn't so heavily invested down the Terrain Mat route - I'd be sorely tempted....

David Crook said...

Hi SoS,

I really enjoy using the Hexon and will need to get some more for the larger table top currently under construction. Ironically I will need to get a couple of cloths for this when it is ready - for the odd non hex based game.

It does look good though and I am very pleased with it.

All the best,