|Early stages of the battle.
Before recounting the action at Aldbury, as the Commonwealth Army of the North drives towards London, it seems here appropriate to run through some 'administrative' matters concerning this campaign. First of all, I have persuaded myself of the inappropriateness of the 'working title' of the rule set I am using. It is a kind of hybrid, incorporating ideas from Bob Cordery's grid war games, Memoir '44 (because I don't have Battle Cry or similar), and an idea I had a few years ago about using ordinary D6 dice in lieu of dice with horse, foot, gun etc symbols. What I wanted was a very fast-play, simple rule set - a 'one brain cell' set, specifically for the Vales of Lyndhurst campaign. So why not call it the Vales of Lyndhurst: Long Exciting Years - VOLLEY?
|Battle between Commonwealth Horse and Royalist foot.
Eleventh Foot take a battering, but the Horse are thrown
Observant readers will have ... erm ... observed, that the figures used for this action are different from those seen in the Clydesdale action of two or three postings back. Persuaded that the units looked better with more than 4 figures - which was a nod towards R.L. Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, actually - I went for my smaller plastics. Most of these are Revell and ESCI, with the odd Airfix figures (notably the Royalist 18th Light Horse) thrown in. I went for 8-figure foot and 6-figure horse, with 2-figure gun crews. I do think the appearance is the more pleasing.
|Battle between Royalist dragoons and Commonwealth light horse.
Owing to the constricted space available for Commonwealth deployment - about one third of the force remaining off table at that - I looked into the possibility of 'stacking' units. I allowed this in three instances only:(1) two foot units in 'line' might be placed in tandem (one behind the other) in a single grid area;
(2) one foot unit may be placed behind one gun unit in a single grid area;
(3) Army (and other) commanders may be 'stacked' with any unit.
The first of these would be regarded a a column.
What could the effects of such stacking be?
1. If two foot units are in column (stacked), only the lead unit may be in close combat.
2. If the column moves in to contact and combat with enemy (i.e. in its own turn) it adds a D6 to its combat dice allocation.
3. If the column is hit by distant shooting by artillery, or moving into contact with artillery, the hits and results received are applied equally to both units.
4. Except as provided in '3', close combat hits received are applied only to the lead unit; but forced retreats are applied to both.
5. A lead unit voluntarily retreating (after receiving hits) may pass 'through' (really, around) the rear unit in the same grid area to that behind.
6. An Army Commander 'stacked' with a unit adds 1 D6 to the unit's combat dice allocation.
I have to admit, these were fairly ad hoc. The stacking was intended only for convenience, and the resulting columns intended for manoeuvre, rather than combat. One likes to take a reasonable approach to completeness, though!
|Royalist 2nd Dragoons charge the guns.
These were treated differently for the respective sides.
The Commonwealth 'off table' reserves being immediately to hand, they could be brought onto the field at any moment of the 'Commander's' choosing. The median number of units, upon which the unit activation die roll is based, was taken over the whole army.
The Royalist 'off table' reinforcements were held to be approaching the battlefield from some distance away. Therefore:1. The median number of units was taken to be what was on the table to begin with, and would remain so until the reinforcements arrived.
2. At the beginning of each Royalist turn, a die would be rolled, with a score of '6' required for the arrival of the reinforcements (five 'militia' battalions). [It is no 'spoiler alert' were I to tell you that the militia arrived on Turn 7].
3. The median would at once increase in accordance with the augmentation in overall strength of the Royalist Army.
|Later in the action: a but of a lull has descended, with the
Royalists still holding the line.
I have to admit that I don't think I have the artillery quite right. The ranges seem to be a bit long; and I'm not sure about doubling the SP combat dice allocation for 'short' ranges. Manoeuvring and timing of artillery fire needs more thought. The jury is still out on this. What it brings me to, though, is figure, ground and time scales.
|The arrival of reinforcements - both sides.
My unit organisations suggest 1 figure to 100 men. I tend to use a rough (very rough) rule of thumb of 100 artillerymen for 4 guns (which really includes drivers, smithies, farriers and such like ilk, who really wouldn't be actual gun crew, but what would you?). As I have 2 gunners per gun, that suggests the Royalists had 16 cannon available, in two 8-piece batteries (companies).
Infantry battalions are therefore about 800 strong; cavalry regiments, 600.
In the Aldbury battle, the 8,400-strong Royalist army, with 16 cannon, was facing 14,400 Commonwealth troops, with 32 guns, though only 16 of the latter were immediately 'up'. The Royalists were hoping for the timely arrival of 4,000 militia to redress at least some of the balance.
A certain amount of arcane calculation overlaid with that powerful mathematical technique called 'fudging' indicated a ground scale of a furlong (220 yards: or, very roughly, 200 metres) across the flats of the grid areas.. At 10cm on the table, that indicates a ground scale of 1:2000.
As it is my habit to calculate the time scale from the square root of the ground, this indicates a time scale of 1 turn to represent 45 minutes. As I am using a unit activated IGoUGo system I feel this should be heavily 'rounded' each player-turn representing a half-hour, or each pair of turns to represent an hour. Compromises, sure. But I like to know, when I fudge, just what I am fudging around.
I'm starting to wonder about this. I like the concept as offering a fine means of introducing a fog of war into solo games. But I am finding that attacks are taking on a piecemeal look. When I hit, I like to hit hard. We'll leave this point open for the time being, and see how the action unfolded.
Post-Battle Army Reorganisation:
For the purposes of assessing losses after a battle, each strength-point lost represents 100 men no longer with the colours. The battle losses are to be recorded accordingly. After the battle, for each troop type lost, one die would be rolled as follows:
- Rolling for infantry, for each 4,5,6 return one infantry SP;
- Rolling for cavalry, for each 2,3 return 1 cavalry SP;
- Rolling for artillery, for each 1, return 1 artillery SP.
It will be observed that guns have a very good survivability in this rule set, but losses are commensurately hard to replace!