How Men of Quality Resolve Differences

How Men of Quality Resolve Differences
Pudel and Peper attacks - an ugly but inevitable part of any 17th C. British Civil War, "Oh! The Shame of it All!"

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Neil Thomas OHW: Horse & Musket AAR, #11 Surprise Attack

So of course after publishing the rules, and updating the post, it is time to play the RAW that I have written.  Getting the unit interactions "feel" right was the trickiest part. Having played it several times, I took the best battle and present it to you here now.

Featured here are my Litko bases that are 3"x1.5" and giving me sabots and ideas for the 6mm figures I'm preparing to trade for with my good buddy Steve over at Sound Officer's Call!.  I've been pursuing scale issues with my adaptation and take on NT's Horse'n Musket rules, so not ready to commit to any particular basing system.  The figs were painted by Steve I believe, but he's moved on to 15mm for everything - good for him!

The scenario in #11 is that the attacking Blue force is moving quickly to capture a crossroads that is lightly guarded by two Red units.  Two more units enter on T3, and the final two on T9.  Having played this previously, I can assure you that the wait time from 3 to 9 is a nail-biter for team Red!  In this case, the Rebels are attacking and are, ironically, "Blue"!  Generally, it just feels right to me to give the tactical attack to them.  I did roll for forces and stuck with them altho I felt it might be tough for the Union who have four infantry and two Guns.  On the other hand, the Rebs have four infantry also and one battery of Guns and a Cavalry unit.  In these rules, Cavalry are basically faster moving skirmish units, it being assume that they are always ready to get back to their horses and scamper off or just redeploy elsewhere.

Below, Turn 1.  Rebs moving ahead trying to envelope the skirmish line of Yanks, who are positioned on the road between an impassible bog and some woods.  Advancing hard up the right are two infantry units.  On the left the cav, with two infantry and a gun up the middle to break the skirmish line.  In the back can be seen the gun and infantry coming in T3, and to the back left the gun and infantry coming in T9. The red dice is the Rebs and the blue the Yanks.

Below T2.  Pushing hard forward, working the flanks and trying to get to the crossroads.

Turn 3. The aggressive action of the cavalry force the Union skirmish line to pull back a bit.  Help is on the way. I chose one gun b/c it can help immediately, altho I've a long range out to 16" with the infantry, also. The cavalry whiff their shot, and the left infantry is not rolling well. The other Yank unit is taking some solid hits as the guns are helping.

Turn 4. Rebs drive on the right flank. Yanks occupy the crossroads and victory! Delaying force continues to hold out due to poor rolls by the cavalry and gun. Also, the right Yank chose to Rally instead of Fire, and rolled a '5' getting 2.5 rounded up = 3 Hits off! Note that the right Reb infantry by the Gun is at Point Blank Range 4" while the other is at Effective Range which is 8". Long Range is 16" if you've a minnie rifle.

Turn 5. Pressure increases on the front, and the odds are evening out. Rebs deploy and prepare to engage the Yanks at the crossroads as the Guns move up to support.

Turn 6. The front begins to collapse. One Yank unit gone, the other taking a lot of hits. Not that the Rebs haven't gotten beat up, but the rule saying you can't pick on a single unit if there's a continuous line in the fire arc is making things a lot more realistic than sniping away at a unit with multiple shooting friendlies until it is dead. 
The grind with the skirmish line is historical for me, but I also want to experiment with a rule that allows infantry to charge under certain circumstances.  No doubt there were charges that broke the enemy, but this is handled in OHW rules by firing upon the unit until it breaks, then occupying the position. Certainly there's an argument to that effect, but there's ZERO incentive to get close to drive away the enemy and I don't like that, either.

Turn 7. The cavalry roll a natural '5' resulting in many hits, and the last Yank unit holding up the Rebs is destroyed. The right unit advances into the gap with the guns also moving. Up at the crossroads, Long Range shots are resulting in substantial casualties.

Turn 8. Rebel general advance continues. Action really heats up at the crossroads. 

Turn 9. Union reinforcements arrive but too late to save the force at the crossroads. Altho they gave telling blows, they were unable to knock out one of the Reb infantry. It doesn't look good - all six confederate units are alive, and there's a rally option in the game!

Turn 10. Yank gunners work furiously to hold off the Rebel horde and at least take out a unit before they go down. Reb gun works its way up the right flank as field of fire is obstructed. Cavalry adjust their position in the woods to threaten the Union gun that's just entered and is raking the infantry unit next to it, putting 14 Hits in. Clearly, I advanced that Unit too far!

Turn 11. Concentrated fire wipes out the Yank gun at the crossroads. It's now clear, but the Rebs have lost an infantry unit finally. But will it make a difference?

Turn 12. Another Reb Unit disintegrates under a hail of cannister. The Union can say they fought with honor at this point. If the top Rebel can be destroyed, there may be a chance to contest the crossroads and get a draw. Nine hits is just enough to make it possible...

Turn 13. The gun and infantry push the Reb at the crossroads to the brink. Union gun not looking so good thanks to the cavalry figuring out how to shoot again and some counter-battery fire. Reb infantry below is rallying off some Hits.

Turn 14. Reb infantry at 13 Hits!  But Union Gun destroyed. Union will destroy it 5/6 of the possibilities of the D5, anything but a '2'...

Turn 15. AARGH!  Never say "anything but a x" it always happens! Cavalry and bottom reb infantry advance out to push the draw to their favor. Crossroads clearly secured!

This played very well. It's a tough scenario for the defender if there's any shooting involved since the entire Blue force enters together and can concentrate firepower at about 2-1 even while enveloping the flank[s]. Most importantly, the rules worked and made sense all the time.  Have made a few type changes and such, and clarified a few things, but they are looking solid. I'll have to amend the post with the rules.

I think the game played nicely as focused on firepower over rebel melee ability. I do think that charges and melee should be a part of a civil war set, but need to figure out what the limit is on it. Certainly a picket line shouldn't be holding off a brigade that is under attack orders. "Driving in" a skirmish line is something I'll have to think about.


  1. Making solid progress on the rules adaptations I see.

  2. Nice report! I especially like the comment on turn 10 "Clearly, I advanced that Unit too far!" -- made me smile because I've said that so many times myself. :)

  3. yeah, well, tactical genius sometimes gets set aside in the excitement of battle, stepping into the role of one general then the other, working a plan, taking pics and making notes.

    Probably a lot like commanding a real battle!

    I'm pleased that these basic rules give a lot of play with just a few changes to make them more ACW oriented. Makes me hopeful that they'll adapt well in other areas.


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