Monday, November 5, 2018

Vales of Lyndhurst: Combat at Clydesdale: 2

The armies drawn up for battle.

Royalist defending Smallbrook village.
Upon a July late afternoon, a small group of richly dressed mounted men might have been seen upon the side of the road leading southwest towards Lyndhurst.  The drizzle that had dampened most of the day had passed, and the lowering sun glanced beneath the rim of the overcast to light up the vignette.  There stood the young King, James, the Third of that name, and not long sat upon his uneasy throne; beside him his Prime Minister, Sir Edward Anders, Master of Lyndhurst, and already quietly being styled by friend and enemy alike, if not in his hearing: 'Kingmaker'. The pair stood a little apart from the rest of the officials, Ministers, councillors and court flunkeys who had also made the short journey to this spot.

'I had hoped, Sir Edward, for a larger contingent,' murmured the King, eyeing the five Lyndhurst battalions marching past, some 4000 men less quite a few straggling behind or making the march riding upon the small train of waggons and carts.  Weary though they were after several days' march, dank, dishevelled, dusty and muddy besides, yet the men seemed in good spirits.  Recognising their Master as they passed, and many the King as well from his time at Lyndhurst, they raised a wild cheer, waving in the air almost as many pikes and half-pikes as muskets.  Upon learning that victuals and ale awaited them not much farther ahead, they raised another cheer.

'Long live the King!'  The Master of Lyndhurst's call was echoed two thousand fold - or perhaps just a little less.  A certain amount of cheerful banter passed between the marchers and the Master, as they continued on to their camps and billets, the familiarity of the former skirting close to, but never quite crossing, the bounds of over-familiarity or insolence.  For Sir Edward (Sirreddard) Anders was a popular Master of Lyndhurst.

Confederation troops prepare to advance
'Aye, Your Royal Highness,' replied Sir Edward, 'I fear that, far from a reinforcement, we have here, withal, barely a replacement for our recent losses.'

Sir Edward omitted to mention that, as it was, the manpower of Lyndhurst had been stripped to the bone to supply even this contingent.  The fighting men remaining to his uncle back in Lyndhurst amounted to a few score, and then there were harvests to be got in a bare month away.   Sir Edward didn't dare think about what might happen if that villain and false Duke, Romney, made a serious attack upon his lands.

He cast his mind to the late evening of two days back, when a dust laden traveller had been ushered into his Prime Ministerial office.   A message from brother Leopold, forsooth!  Sir Edward poured with his own hand a bumper of his favourite toddy of mulled wine.  Offering it to the messenger in exchange for the rolled paper he held,  he indicated a chair near the fire, then settled down to read.

There had been a battle all right.  And the news, though not all bad, was certainly not all good.  The French and Confederation Army had received a check, it seemed, but it had cost the Royalists dear.  The march north to face Norfolk's Army was not going happen at once - and might not for several days.  The combat must have been no mere skirmish...
The French push up the road to Benbow.

Hurry up and wait...
When I set up the table, following as closely as I could his original map, a certain battle plan seemed to have been in Barry's mind for the Franco-Confederation Army.  A good two-thirds of the French Army strength was on the Bathurst-Benbow road.  That suggested to me that the French plan was to effect a crossing of the Brewery River - practicable to horse and foot with moderate difficulty if opposed - to carry the Benbow village, and to roll up the Royalist line from the west.




For their part, the Confederation Army under the Duke of Kent would carry out the other half of a double envelopment by seizing or taking the Smallwood village and its surrounding enclosures, capturing the bridge behind it and exploiting on to Clydesdale.  That would place Kent's contingent upon one London road (from Smallwood) and perhaps assist the French to occupying the other (from Clydesdale).  One third of the French army would hold the refused centre.
The first wave of Confederation infantry surges forward.
At about mid-morning, the Chevalier and the Duke ordered forward their respective commands.  As I mentioned earlier for the first turn, the anti-Royalists went first, the two contingents rolling separately for unit activation.  Thereafter, the first-mover in each turn was determined by a dice roll.  Strangely enough, the Royalists 'won' every initiative roll for the entire battle.  For them, it was probably just as well.
My apologies on the under-painted dragoons.  But I wanted
to get this action done.

Very quickly the Confederation Army developed two waves, with half the army advancing, whilst the other half waited.  The Royalist position on this flank was a formidable one, three battalions and two artillery companies holding the village and enclosures, with the light infantry protecting the wooded inner flank, and the Dragoon Guards the open left.  To force this position would be no light undertaking, as the Duke's men were to discover.

The French had rather different difficulties to overcome.  The approach to their immediate objective, Benbow village, was flanked closely by woods, and barred by the Brewery River. This created something of a tangle as the dragoons found themselves leading an advance in country not really to their liking, the artillery waiting for their front to be cleared in order to fire at the enemy across the river, and infantry also looking for an open path to reach the river at all.

Royalist view of the dense French columns.
It was not to be wondered at, then, that the Dragoons elected to charge in columns across the river (as my LBC - 'Lonely Brain Cell' - rule set now stands, it makes no difference what formation horse and foot are in - it was really just the look of the thing.  However, that may change!) , Harcourt taking the bridge, Dauphin splashing straight across the stream.  That meant a reduction in their combat dice.
The first attacks! French dragoons versus British infantry,
Seventh Fusiliers advanced from the village to meet the Harcourt Dragoons at the bridge, where they inflicted 1SP hit and a 'retreat' hit; whilst taking a 'retreat' hit themselves.  Both sides, deciding not (7th Fusiliers),  or simply unable (Harcourt Dragoons), to retreat, took the extra SP hit.  The fight between Dauphin Dragoons and 115th Fusiliers was less bloody, the Dragoons taking a retreat hit only, and with room to do so, fell back.  (A point, here: retreating units can pass through friends, but only if the retreat takes them to an empty grid area.  In this connexion, infantry may retreat two squares for one 'retreat hit' if - and only if - their normal 1-grid-cell retreat is blocked by friends, but there is an open grid-cell beyondMore shall be said of this topic later in the narrative.)
Royalist hit-and-run counter-strike.




On the other wing, apart from effective Royalist gunnery that inflicted some hurt upon 114th Foot, the first close combats were joined as the 1st Light approached the Brook Forest, wherein lurked the light infantry of 6th and 96th Royalist Foot.  Observing the somewhat careless approach of the greencoats, both Royalist battalions charged out and closed with the startled Confederates. The 96th's shooting proved woefully ineffective, the Confederation light infantry inflicting 1 SP and 2 'retreat' hits for no loss, and driving them back into the woods as far as the riverbank.  Sixth Light were tougher: dishing out 2 SP hits, before themselves retiring (1 'retreat hit').  On the whole, though, it had been a very effective 'hit and run' attack by the Royalist light infantry.
Counter-blow by 2nd Dragoon Guards and the Royalist light
infantry.


The Confederation Horse get the better
of the opening exchanges...
Meanwhile, the 2nd Dragoon Guards nerved themselves to charge the leading Confederation Dragoon regiment.  The combat did not begin well for the Guardsmen, taking an SP hit themselves for no loss to the enemy.  Remaining in the battle (they could have chosen to retreat, having taken the hit), the Guardsmen overcame their earlier setback, and inflict 2SP hits on the enemy before pulling back (a 'retreat' hit)

... but superior training and sheer bloody-mindedness
comes to the aid of the Dragoon Guards!


These setbacks were more exasperating to the Duke's men than depressing. Even the crushing of 114th Foot by gunfire hardly slowed them down. Soon the leading foot battalions, 2nd and 1st Confederate reached the enclosures.  It was the 2nd who struck the Royalist 9pr battery astride the road, where they managed to score a SP hit. But the damage to themselves was the greater - it being no small matter to charge guns frontally.  (Another aside: I was in two minds about how to handle close combats involving cannon.  For one thing, the beaten zone of canister or grape or similar 'shotgun' projectiles would be a dangerous place to be.  On the other hand, though defending themselves with trailspikes and rammers, the gunners could scarcely be a match for regular line infantry who had got fairly in amongst the guns.  Although I didn't use it at the time, I'm thinking that when the foot move into close combat, the cannon double their combat SP as per short ranged fire, but if the foot remain in contact the cannon SP is normal - or possibly even halved - for subsequent combat rounds).

Infantry assault on the Royalist battery astride the road.
Not sure what those 4 green dice were doing there, unless they were
rolled for the gunners...


French attacks on the Royalist right forces the commitment of
5th Foot and 2nd Footguards to help the defence.

The menacing French columns on the Royalist right persuaded Sir Leopold to reinforce that flank.  He had already planned to push 5th Foot into the enclosures across the river to flank any advance by the French straight up the Casebrook Farm road or the Benbow road.  It seemed to him appropriate, too, to commit part of his small reserve, the 2nd Footguards, to that flank as the pressure mounted.
Both sides fell back after this clash, the Horse passing
right through the columns behind.
Before the leading French foot battalions, I Provence and both Rousillon, Harcourt Dragoons made one more bid to take the road bridge.  Seventh Fusiliers were driven back into the village, but forced the Dragoons to break off the fight.  (A further aside to test your patience:  For some reason I had the cavalry retreat two grid-cells whenever they received a 'retreat' hit.  Maybe I was influenced by the situation on the map, but I had worked out what rules I would use before beginning the action. It just seemed right.  As it transpired, the two 'retreat' hits inflicted by 7th Fusiliers implied a 4-grid-area retreat, which, fortuitously enough, was just sufficient to take the dragoons all the way beyond the congested field behind.  I really do like this 'interpenetration' idea for this type of game).
The Confederation Infantry can not buy a hit upon the guns.
At this time, the most of the fighting was still being sustained by the Duke.  But his assaults upon the artillery were stalled.  All day the Confederates simply could not buy a hit on the enemy artillery, whose return fires proved very damaging.  In the first rounds of combat, 2nd Confederate took a SP hit, and 1st Confederate took two; all without inflicting the slightest hurt upon the artillery.  That could not be sustained for very long.
The Dragoon Guards smash a Confederation Horse unit
and are about to ride over the guns (just out of
the picture).
As the Confederation infantry prepared to launch further assaults, the Dragoon Guards declined to remain idle.  The 2nd Guards had already battered one enemy horse unit, the Duke of Kent's Own.  Now the 3rd Guards resolved to measure their prowess against what remained of it.  Fighting back manfully Kent's Own inflicted 'retreat' hit, but were themselves overwhelmed by 2 SP hits and a redundant 'retreat' hit.  For their part, the 2nd Guards charged the sole Confederate battery, which was supporting the infantry assault.  Electing to conserve their strength, the 3rd Guards promptly retired - a mistake as it transpired, for, just after riding over the Confederation's cannon, they found themselves assailed in flank by the remaining mounted unit under the Duke's command, Romney's Horse.


The guns about to be ridden over.
The rude irruption at once reduced the Guardsmen to just 25% of their strength, as a retreat would have had to traverse a grid area adjacent to the unit attacking them. (Here we go again.  I really, really was in two minds about this.  In this action, I forbade such a retreat; the cavalry had to take the SP reduction.  So effective was the Confederation Horse flank attack that that meant 3SP hits right off.  Now, I am not sure why I decided upon matching combat dice with current SP, perhaps it has to do with my 'Memoir '44' style of combat system [see previous postings].  But I also like the idea of allowing retreats into grid-areas adjacent to an enemy, even one already adjacent and in combat with the subject unit, but with the compulsion to halt at once.  Combat is resumed in the next side's turn.  The concept is fixed on the notion of a unit fighting (or trying to fight) its way out of trouble.  It seems to me worth play testing).
2nd Dragoon Guards caught in flank, attempt to fight
their way out.
At any rate, as you can see, in the following Royalist turn, the Guardsmen turned to face their attackers (though it seems to me the option to break off the action could be explored).  This was to be no glory ride:  the two hits were more than enough to scatter the Dragoon Guards.  The Duke's Own had been bloodily avenged.
Royalist right under heavy assault.
On the Royalist right flank, the French Horse having been seen off, the defenders had to face the French infantry.  Now I had decided that a unit in a river grid area fights at 1SP less, so it were better to defend a river crossing from an adjacent clear grid area. This was, of course, tough on the attackers, even though, after some rounds of fighting against horse foot and guns, all the defenders - even the artillery - had taken some loss - 5SP, and only II Rousillon  had so far taken any loss on the French infantry.
A blood letting on the Casebrook stream!  5th Foot take 2 SP
hits; I Rousillon 1 SP hit and 2 'hit or retreat'.
The battle between I Rousillon and 5th Foot proved costly to both sides - and that seemed to become a feature of infantry versus infantry fights.  In attempting to force a crossing, the Rousillon inflicted two SP hits, but took one with a couple of  'retreat' hits, whereupon the battalion fell back to prepare a second attempt.  II Rousillon almost forced a passage when they drove 115th Foot away from the riverbank, but more was also beyond them, as Frenchmen here, too, fell back.
The demise of II Rousillon.
Rather more success attended the assault by I Provence that carried the bridge.  Although receiving a 'retreat hit', the Provencals wiped out 7th Fusiliers' remaining SPs, and surged over to the other bank.  There awaited them, in the village, 8th Fusiliers, who had moved in behind the 7th against just this eventuality.
I Provence vs 7th Fusiliers.
So matters stood on the Royalist right when the Confederation assaults finally petered on their left. Having rallied from their earlier fights, 3rd Dragoon Guards rode into the flank of 2nd Confederate infantry, which unit promptly disintegrated.  The attacks upon the road had also melted away.  Having lost 15 SPs out of 43, the Confederation Army had reached its exhaustion point.  Very soon they put some distance between themselves and the Royalists, and invited the latter to try their luck crossing the gap.  Under strict orders from Sir Leopold Anders himself, the Royalists declined the invitation and contented themselves with resting and counting the cost.  
The Confederation Army draws back, it's offensive strength spent.
To take up the slack, the French commander found himself committing his centre troops, the two Bocard battalions against the Brook Forest; and II Provence straight up the Clydesdale road.  All morning the gun battery astride the road had been engaged in an ineffectual duel with the Royalist 9pr guns across the Brewery River.
French Boccard Infantry attacks Brook Forest


In their haste to close with the light infantry in Brook Forest, II Bocard forged rather ahead of their companion regimental battalion and struck the 96th Light unaided.  Despite the woods being the natural home of the light infantry, the French regulars gave at least as good as they got in the ensuing firefights.  Taking heavy losses themselves, they eventually scattered 6th Light, and, when 96th Light Infantry sought to intervene, had them driven back to the riverbank.  All this before I Bocard had come up.  But the effort had worn down II Bocard to the extent that further effort broke them down.  The remnants scattered over the fields.
Royalist defences already showing signs of strain.
It was becoming clear by this time that the outcome of the main French assault around Benbow would decide the battle, one way or the other.  Eighth Fusiliers found themselves driven into the village, and out the other side.  A counter-attack regained the place, but by this time the resistance of 115th Fusiliers along the Brewery riverbank, and 5th Foot at the Casebrook Stream had been broken by determined French attacks.  The 2nd Footguards marched to the aid of  the Benbow garrison, but not before they were evicted a second time.  A concerted counter-blow by 8th Fusiliers and the Footguards once more restored Benbow into Royalist possession, but the defences were becoming thin: just two battalions and a reduced heavy battery remaining.
Royalist defences looking pretty thin.  The village has changed
hands four times by now (in the excitement, neglected to take
pictures).

Nor were prospects looking bright in the centre, as I Bocard Infantry took up the duel so well fought by their companion battalion.  True, II Provence had been halted on the road by effective gunfire, but as 96th Light Infantry were bayoneted out of Brook Woods, 4th Foot had to be shifted to their left to contest the passage of the stream.  

Brook Forest lost to the French.
The crisis of the battle seemed to have been reached.  Around Benbow the French had firmly established themselves upon the Royalist side of the river.  Although, after changing hands four times the village remained in Royalist hands, 2nd Footguards had been driven back, leaving the village and the gun battery for the moment isolated.  Against what remained of the defenders, there still seemed inexhaustible numbers of French infantry ready to press the advantages already gained.  On the point of exhaustion (having lost 25SP out of 74SP), the Royalists awaited the final assault that must surely come.
The French high water mark, and the crisis for the Royalists -
just as the French assaults fade away.

It didn't.  The French attacks suddenly petered out and faded away, as the French infantry fell back across the river.  The battle was over.

What happened?

I was most surprised when a Strength Point count of the French revealed they had taken 22SP loss out of 60SP.  The sight of several reduced, but unbroken, battalions had deceived me into believing that, having plenty of SP still in hand, the French would gradually edge the Royalists out of Benbow, at which point I would probably have counted the action as a Franco-Confederation victory.  West of the Clydesdale road, they had lost only the one battalion, most of the rest more or less damaged.  The Royalists had lost three. 

Of units actually destroyed, routed, scattered, not answering the call to the colours, the losses were:
Royalist: 3 Regular (7th and 115th Fusiliers and 5th Foot), 2 Light battalions, 1 Dragoon Regiment;
Confederation: 1 Regular and 1 Light battalion, 1 Dragoon regiment, 1 battery;
French: 2 Regular battalions (II Rousillon and II Boccard).

The exhaustion of the Royalists and French having occurred in the same turn - the Confederates rather earlier - the action counted as a tactical draw.  The Franco-Confederation march on London had been definitely checked.  But the Royalists themselves had taken too much damage to contemplate an immediate march to relieve the Army of the North.

The crisis of London had not been averted; it was merely in abeyance.

Links to earlier Vales of Lyndhurst postings:
Requiem
Vales of Lyndhurst continued
Combat at Clydesdale 1


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Vales of Lyndhurst: Combat at Clydesdale 1

Overview at beginning of the action, viewer facing west.
London is several miles to the north.
To begin with, I have made a couple of modifications to my previous two postings on the Vales of Lyndhurst topic.  The main one is that the first reference in each comprises a link to the original series, something I intended but forgot during the writing.  At the moment I am also considering starting up a new blog devoted to VoL.  This may depend on the level of interest.  I've made a couple of other minor, cosmetic emendments.

Looking westward along the Royalist line

The first combat in the continued narrative was as much a play-test of a hastily cobbled together fast play game system, based on the grid war games concepts I have been absorbing over the last nearly two years.  The armies were as follows:

Royalist Army:

General Sir Leopold Anders 6SP
2 Footguard Foot Battalions
   @ 5SP = 10SP
8 Fusilier and Foot Battalions
   @4SP =  32SP
2 'Light' Foot Battalions
   @3SP = 6SP
2 Dragoon Guards Regiments
   @5SP = 10SP
2 Heavy Gun Companies
   @3SP = 6SP
2 Medium Gun Companies
   @2SP = 4SP

Number of Units: 19  Median: 10
Units activated per turn:
Die Rolls: 1-2 = 9 units; 3-4 = 10 units; 5-6 = 11 units.
Total strength = 74SP;  Army Exhaustion point = -25SP


Franco-Confederate Army:

Looking westward along the Confederate line

Confederate Corps:

Major-General the Duke of Kent 6SP
6 Foot Battalions
   @ 4SP = 24SP
1 'Light' Battalion
   @ 3SP = 3SP
2 Dragoon Regiments
   @ 4SP = 8SP
1 Medium Gun Company
   @ 2SP = 2SP

Number of Units: 11  Median: 6
Units activated per turn:
Die Rolls:
   1-2 = 5 units; 3-4 = 6 units; 5-6 = 7 units.
Total strength =43SP; 
   Army Exhaustion point = -15SP



French Corps:

Chevalier de Busset 6SP
10 Foot Battalions
   @ 4SP = 40SP
2 Dragoon Regiments
   @ 4SP = 8SP
3 Medium Gun Companies
   @ 2SP = 6SP

Number of Units: 16  Median: 8
Units activated per turn:
Die Rolls: 1-2 = 7 units; 3-4 = 8 units; 5-6 = 9 units.
Total strength = 60SP;  Army Exhaustion point = -20SP
Looking northeastward from behind the French command.
The Chevalier and the Duke seem to be conferring...


Points to note:
1.  The two Franco-Confederate Army commands have been pointed up separately with each contingent dicing separately for unit allocation. 

2. The addition of the 6 SP for the second commander might be seen to confer upon the Allies that much of an edge.  That was not apparent in this first battle.  Possibly this was due to the very slight qualitative edge enjoyed by the Royalists, with two each of Footguards and Horseguards units and the two heavy batteries.

3.  Exhaustion was applied to the Allied commands separately.  If and when one command fell to its 'exhaustion point', the other was still permitted to carry out attacking moves.  The battle was to end when (a) all three commands reached their exhaustion point or (b) one side having reached its exhaustion point, the other chose to break off the action.

4.  The initiative dice rolls were Royalist versus Allies collectively.  It might have been interesting to roll per command, but a bit more cumbersome.

It having been pointed out to me that 8-figure foot units would have looked better - a fair comment - any future battles are likely to feature a different collection of kit, namely, my mid-18th Century Imagi-Nations armies, with smaller plastic figures.  I simply don't have enough 'Marlburian' figures at the moment. The grey-coats are likely to become white-coats!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Vales of Lyndhurst - To be continued?

Battle of Clydesdale


The Franco-Confederate Army, commanded jointly by Chevalier Busset and the Duke of Kent, was met on their northward push for London, by a hastily gathered Royalist Army commanded by Sir Leopold Anders, brother of the Lord of Lyndhurst.  Here is was hoped that Sir Leopold could administer a check to the Confederates, buying enough time hastily to march northward to meet the other Confederate march that was menacing London from the north.

At this point I won't go into the actual fighting, but rather mention certain administrative aspects of continuing this campaign.  In transferring Barry's original concept using map battles, I have elected to make the transfer to grid war games, using my 48" x 52" table, as pictured.  The original I sketched onto a roughly hand drawn grid of off-set squares, which was in turn sketched a little more carefully onto a preprinted hex grid the same dimensional array as my table. I keep blank copies of this grid on file in this machine.  I can print them, or add details using Microsoft 'Paint' as I find convenient.  The small map in the right is the result.

Now, a rule set was wanting.  So I made one up, a 'Lonely Brain Cell' set, for these battles.  Borrowed heavily from the Bob Cordery concepts, with a little bit of Memoir '44 thrown in and a die rolling system I suggested maybe eighteen months or so back, I wanted something quick that produced a plausible looking battle.

What follows is really just a sketch.  I hope to refine it later.

Working Rules for Vales of Lyndhurst Battles.

Units:  

Cavalry and infantry, henceforth called Horse and Foot, comprise battalions and regiments of 4 figures.
Artillery, henceforth called 'Guns' comprise companies of 1 gun and 2 figures.
Strength Points (SP):
Standard SPs for Horse and Foot is 4SP.
    +1 For Elite or Crack units
    -1  For Militia, Irregular or Light units
Standard SP for artillery is 2SP
    +1 For 'heavy' (12pr) cannon
Standard SP for Army command is 6SP

Formations.

Horse and Foot may form
Line - 1 rank of 4 figures
Column - 2 ranks of 2 figures
Guns may be deployed, limbered or in the process of deploying or limbering.

Movement:

Foot: 
Standard movement is 2 grid areas in good going.
In any kind of rough going, fording rivers, passing through woods, enclosures, built up areas, this is reduced to 1 hex only.
Units entering rough going, river hexes, BUAs, enclosed fields etc end their moves at once, except as follows.
Foot in column marching along a road may add 1 hex to its movement provided at least two of the three moved are on the same road, and the remaining one is on the same road or good going.
Foot in column, moving along a road for their entire move, ignore all other terrain constraints.

Horse:
Standard movement is 4 hexes in good going.
In any kind of rough going, fording rivers, passing through woods, enclosures, built up areas, this is reduced to 1 hex only.
Units entering rough going, river hexes, BUAs, enclosed fields etc end their moves at once, except as follows.
Horse in column marching along a road may add 1 hex to its movement provided at least four of the five allowed are on the same road, and the remaining one is on the same road or good going.
Horse in column, moving along a road ignore all other terrain constraints whilst they remain on the road.

Guns:
To move, Guns must be limbered.
Limbered Guns (except galloper guns) move 1 hex in good going, and may travel 2 hexes along a road.  Galloper guns can travel 1 extra hex.
Guns my cross rivers and streams only at bridges and fords practicable to vehicles.
Guns may not enter woods or marshes or river hexes except by a road or track that is practicable to vehicles.
Guns require a whole move to limber up or to deploy (unlimber).

Combat:

Only artillery are able to carry out distant shooting.   The scale of this rule set is such that all other combats, shooting or hand to hand, take place between adversaries in adjacent grid areas.
In all combats, units roll as many combat dice for effect as their current SP, modified by terrain effects. 
All close combats are competitive, both sides rolling and determining hits.  A unit may attack one unit only; the defender rolls against all attacking units.  Units that remain in contact at the end of any given player's turn continue automatically to battle in the subsequent turns that they remain in contact.
A unit whose combat dice allocation is reduced by such modifications, still gets to roll 1 combat die.
The results of the combat dice rolls are assessed as follows:

  • 1 = target Guns lose 1SP
  • 2 = target Horse may choose to retreat 2 hexes OR lose 1SP
  • 3 = target Horse lose 1SP and may choose to retreat 2 hexes
  • 4 = target Foot may choose to retreat 1 hex or lose 1SP
  • 5 = target Foot lose 1SP and may choose to retreat 1 hex
  • 6 = target Foot lose 1SP and may choose to retreat 1 hex

    Hits are cumulative, including 'retreat' results.  A foot unit that receives two '4' hits may choose to retreat 2 hexes, lose 2SP or lose 1SP and retreat 1 hex.
Retreating units encountering friend to their rear, may pass through them to carry out their retreat.  A foot unit may also do so, provided the destination grid area immediately behind is clear, effectively retreating 2 hexes instead of 1.  This is the only time a Foot unit may retreat 2 hexes on the basis of 1 '4' hit.

Combat dice are modified by terrain, whether occupied by the target unit, or sometimes that occupied by the unit being diced for.
Combat Dice = Current SP modified as follows, or 1 whichever is the greater.

Reduce Combat Dice by 2 if:
  • Horse in, or battling against enemy in, woods, enclosed fields, built up areas
  • Horse battling against Foot or Horse that are uphill

Reduce Combat Dice by 1 if:
  • Foot (except Light)  fighting target in wood, enclosed fields, built up areas, hamlets or farms, or uphill
  • Unit is in a river hex, against enemy not in a river hex (i.e. when attempting a defended crossing).  This applies to any river hex, crossable by bridge or ford, or not.



    Modifications are cumulative up to a maximum of 2.
    Remember, if the modified Combat Dice comes to less than 1, it is taken as 1

Gunnery:

Heavy Cannon (12pr):  Short range = 3 hexes; long range = 6 hexes
Medium Cannon (6-9pr): Short range = 2 hexes; long range = 4 hexes
Light Cannon (3-4pr 'galloper guns'): Short range = 2 hexes; long range = 4 hexes
At short range Guns' Combat Dice is DOUBLE their SP unless they are involved in close combat
(I am conscious that this isn't quite right, as enemy Foot and Horse can close to close combat without being shot at by grapeshot, but not sure yet how to fix it - even whether it needs fixing.  I am considering allowing one round of 'reserved' fire by defending units, but that will make attacks very difficult.)
For initiating moves, determining the battle outcomes and so forth, I used Bob Cordery's Portable Wargames system.  ....


Next posting will outline the composition of the armies, strength points and any other details that come to mind.  After that will come the narrative of the battle.
To be continued.
If anyone has comments or suggestions to make to the above, they may be used to modify this posting.






Saturday, October 27, 2018

Requiem



During the course of enforced (hem, hem) idleness over the last week or so, to allow my eye to recover from surgery,  my thoughts cast themselves back to the blog narrative of a friend - The Vales of Lyndhurst.   After several years been in indifferent health, Barry Taylor seemed for a year or two to be recovering something of his old energy.  But when his health turned again in mid 2013, his vast conception had to be dropped.  He never had the chance to pick it up again, and passed away in October of that year.

Barry's final battle map superimposed upon my grid war games version

The Vales of Lyndhurst was a narrative in the Game of Thrones style, a power struggle that, though it involved the throne of Great Britain, of England in particular, was more a struggle between those who would reunify the realm, and those who enjoyed the profits of aristocratic anarchy.  The Interregnum lasting some eighty years since the execution - some called it regicide - of Charles Stuart, a search  by an aristocratic faction that longed to restore some rule of law into the realm, had unearthed a plausible candidate for the vacant throne.  No mere collateral descendant, the direct lineage, though faint, was unmistakable.  The one question, the issue of legitimacy - the subject of the inquiry was a bastard - the anxious searchers were disinclined to examine.  Upon this person, James III as he would be styled, centred the hopes of the faction who onlynow dared to call themselves - if as yet only in whispers - Royalists.

Great Britain had in those 'lost' eighty years descended into a chaos of rival aristocrats, especially the large landed magnates, all of whom these days styled themselves 'Duke' - with more than questionable legitimacy.  The nation itself had shrunk in stature.  Parliament had become more theoretical than effectual, national executive government having atrophied since the death of the first Cromwell.





The Royalists' hopes to mature their plans in secret were to be disappointed. Sir Edward Anders, Lord of Lyndhurst had formally adopted James to 'lend verisimilitude to the imposture of James Schiller/ Anders as a non-Royal, if not a commoner, withal'. Even so, the leader of a rival such faction, the ambitious and acquisitive Duke of Kent, whose own intelligence network spread well into the major Continental nations, even unto the Vatican itself, got wind of the Royalist plot.  Perhaps secretly harbouring a preference to be addressed as 'Your Royal Highness' rather than merely 'Your Grace', he would brook no rival for power, no change to the present structureless structure of British governance.  Not, that is to say, until he himself was in a position to impose his own strictures and structures.

The result was later called the Second Civil War, though such was the way of England for last eight decades, it could scarce be said that the Civil War begun by the Great Rebellion of 1642 were yet ceased.  The boy king, James III, proved a popular monarch, the approval of the City of London all the more enthusiastic for his betrothal to the well-known and well-regarded Lady Margaret Hackett, the daughter of the Duke of Essex. Several magnates, whether moved by the same desire for order as the Master of Lyndhurst, or simply observing the direction of the political gusts, fell in behind the Royalist faction.  Taking their cue from the powerful and strong-willed Duke of Kent, others preferred the licence offered by the status quo, or simply rejected the legitimacy of the 'Bastard King'.

Several combats and battles had yielded very little result, tactically or strategically.  Generally on the offensive, and driving towards London, the Confederates, as they styled themselves - there was no question that this faction had anything to do with upholding Parliament - had received a number of costly checks.  Such results rather encouraged the outnumbered Royalists, but there was no doubt that such negative, defensive, successes could in no way advance their cause.  They were merely 'holding the line'.  Until the Royalists could gather their power, potentially greater than their adversaries', 'holding the line' was about as much as they could hope for.

For their part, the Confederates got in a powerful blow by enlisting the aid of the King of France, who sent forth a sizable contingent of horse, foot and guns to augment the already considerable forces of Kent himself.  The aghast Royalists knew at once that at a stroke - a master stroke - Kent had eclipsed Royalist strength.  Thus began a determined drive upon London from south and north, with the Royalist forces outnumbered.  The Commander of the main Royalist Army, Major-General Lord Leopold .Adair set forth to intercept the French-Ducal Army.  The rival forces clashed just south of the small settlement of Clydesdale.
The battle lines drawn.  The Royalists are seriously
outnumbered!


It was at this point, with the battle lines drawn, that the narrative was interrupted, never to be resumed.  Shortly after Barry died, I was asked by one or two other bloggers whether maybe I could take up the story.  Although the idea appealed - it seemed a pity to leave it hanging - this I was reluctant to do at the time.  It was not just the commitment (always problematic with me), but more a sense that maybe it would be a disservice to Barry's memory, at least so soon.  And, frankly, I simply felt I could not have done justice to Barry's conception.

Five years later, how now do I feel about it?  I still feel that my own imagination and commitment could scarcely match Barry's in a narrative like this (if it did, I'd be a novelist).  But it seemed to me that the campaign for London might at least be told to a conclusion. Just by way of a fifth-year requiem for its author.

Such an undertaking will once more see a change, unfortunately, in how battles are to be presented. I never did discover how Barry produced his maps and fought the battles.  Methought, how about a grid-formatted action - a marriage, perhaps of the war games concepts of two such disparate innovators as Bob Cordery and Robert Louis Stevenson?  Grid War Games, and 4-figure infantry battalions and cavalry regiments.


Some of the troops from which the contending armies
will be drawn.  The Regimental command elements will
probably stand as Brigade commands.


There will be nothing 'British' looking about these armies.  The red coated 'New Model Army' national army went the way of just about all national institutions after 1660.  Not even the St George Cross of England will be much in evidence!  For the figures to be used will be Continental, the Imperialist Army of the War of the Spanish Succession.

Summarised Orders of Battle for Clydesdale:

Royalist: 

2 Footguard Battalions
6 Foot and Fusilier Battalions
2 Light Battalions
2 Dragoon Guards Regiments
2 'Heavy' Artillery Companies
2 'Medium' Artillery Companies
Totals: 40 Foot, 8 Horse, 8 Gunners - 56 figures.


The Duke of Kent's Greencoats.  Beside them, a few
French Greycoats, and behind them a Brigade of
Royalist Bluecoats.

French-Ducal:

10 French Line Infantry Battalions
6 Ducal Foot Battalions
1 Ducal Light Battalion
2 French Dragoon Regiments
2 Ducal Dragoon Regiments
3 French 'Medium' Artillery Companies
1 Ducal 'Medium' Artillery Company.
Totals: 68 Foot, 16 Horse, 8 Gunners - 92 figures. 


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hybrid.

Plastic Soldier/ Airfix hybrid SdKfz263 command
or comms armoured car.
Recently my war game buddy 'Jacko' got himself a pack of German 8-rad armoured cars from 'Plastic Soldier'.  Three to a box, variety of types to build (SdKfz 231, 232, 233 and 263 command vehicle - seems like a good buy.

Several Airfix SdKfz234/4 armoured cars in various states
(one with a scratch conversion), and the spare paerts
from Plastic  Soldier sprues.
Having built his three SdKfz 231s, he has still on the sprue the tasty looking alternatives - lacking the lower hull, chassis and wheels.  Now, I have had in my inventory several old Airfix SdKfz 234/4s that I had discovered weren't what you would call 'historically accurate'.  But when 'Jacko' showed me  his models it seemed to me it might be possible to marry up the Plastic Soldier upper hulls with an Airfix bottom half/  That the one was 1:72 scale, the other 1:76, might have given pause, but  the scales were not a problem.
Completed; waiting it paint job.   It's raining and blowing a
howling southerly outside, straight off Antarctica, so that
will have to wait.
What you see here is the product of that effort.  Turns out that a fairish amount of haggling of the Airfix kit was needed, and a rough-as-guts job I made of it too.  The top half had some placement lugs (?) trimmed back.  The result left ugly gaps in the centre half of the hull sides that I patched up with greenstuff.  The pictures indicate some further trimming will be required to tidy that up.
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The trick with an untidy bodge is to add detail,  So this command armoured car received its radio aerials, side bars and whatever that contraption is hanging off the front.  Once I've trimmed up the greenstuff packing, and given the thing an overall paint, I reckon I'll be happy enough with this chappy.  Of the other four Airfix armoured cars, one you will see was my attempt to convert one into a SdKfw231 in about 1990.  This one I might five an aerial for a SdKfz232.  The green one I'll probably keep in its unhistorical glory, a third will fetch up as a SdKfz233, and the last will be cannibalised for parts.