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!"

Friday, October 23, 2020

EC-BC v. 4 Playtest: Eagles Cheaper than Brain Cells LIVES!

  The French storm the hill in One-Hour Wargames Scenario #12!

Well, maybe it is Borodino...

One-Hour Wargames, Scenario 12: An Unfortunate Oversight
This first run-thru should be called "An Incompetent Oversight" considering how badly I played for both sides. My only excuse is that it does take a few practice runs to determine how mechanics translate to the table and it is distracting to tactical thinking to be trying to remember the game mechanics!  This is yet another reason why "simple is better" for us poor Armchair Generals. Still, #12 is a fun scenario, with Blue dodging a strongly held bridge at a town and executing a flanking maneuver via a ford unknown to Red

For the force roll-up, the '2' for the Russians resulted in 3 INF, 2 GUNS, 1 CAV.
The '6' for the Frenchies results in 4 IN, 1 Skirmisher, 1 CAV. This is a pretty interesting force combo, with my interpretations below.

The French, seeing the town of Redinsky being strongly held by a covering force, set their scouts to work and discover a ford a couple kliks away. It is covered at long range by the Russian batteries, but there is no infantry or cavalry nearby. Marshal MacDonald decides he has to go for it, lest his Corps fall behind the schedule set by Le Petit Emporeur! The hill is the key - to secure both crossings, he must seize it!

Below, the wretched setup. 
I've interspersed the Russky guns with the infantry and cavalry, and it is too late to reposition them. The French are going for broke at the ford, with the Light infantry battalion screening the bridge and exchanging potshots with the infantry brigade holding the town. The French roll a '5' for Orders and the Russians a '1'. At least the French will be able to get moving as it costs 2 Orders to March, but Marshal Mac automatically gives full orders to any Unit he is with. The Russians order the closest Infantry and the Cavalry, trying to block the ford as quickly as possible.

The French, having Initiative [IN] have to take Actions first. They blow the crossing, rolling a '3' with 2d6 and getting only 9" with the Marching Cavalry. They are now in the way [they could've rolled a '12' for 18" total...].  The following Infantry brigade does the best it can to move around them, but the next Infantry also rolls a '3'!
As the outflanking maneuver plods along against quickly-moving opposition, the Lights inflict a hit with their patrols that have snuck across the bridge. As the Russian batteries were not ordered, they cannot Bombard out to the 24" range needed to cover the crossing. I felt it was more important to maneuver forces to oppose the French crossing, which has bogged down - will this forward defense result in victory for the Czarists?  It certainly looks possible...

Turn 2, Orders are a '4' each. French place theirs since they've the IN. The French prioritize pushing ahead in the teeth of the Russians, while the Russians work to maneuver more forces against the crossing and Order one Bombardment from the battery on the hill. The French then retain the IN for the turn.

With the IN, the French are able to push ahead, moving their CAV out of the way and getting two more Infantry brigades across. The Russians are able to lay down some effective Fire, inflicting 4 Hits total.

At this point, it should be noted that I am forgetting little bits and pieces of the rules, and doing a few things out of order. Haven't played in a while, and I'm correcting best I can, but...

Turn 5, French are pushing to expand their bridgehead, but lost the Cavalry [with the General] to a Russian Cav charge. They in turn were forced to retire with a few Hits in the face of advancing French infantry. One French brigade has 6 Hits, pushing it against the wall of destruction at '7'. However, the Russians lost their center Infantry brigade due to concentrated French Fire. The French Lights are threatening the Russian Guns. 
The Russian Infantry has advanced against the ford, but they are not protecting the hill, which is after all the objective. Continuing the next day, I replaced the green casualty dice with white. French IN dice is blue while the Russians is green.

Turn 7, the Russians have seized the IN and maneuvered their Cav for a charge against the Lights to protect their guns from Fire [the Lights can't charge]. The French saw this coming and gave the Lights an Order - this allows them to Fire at the oncoming Cavalry. Needing 5+ to Hit, they get two and nearly wipe out the Cavalry which only has 5 Hits!
In the ensuring melee, the Russians get only 1 Hit needing 3+ and the Lights get two needing 5s!  The Russian Cav wander back to town to reform, taking the general with them. The Guns are now going to be subject to plinking fire...

Turn 7 is shaping up to be a pivotal turn. The French Unit managed to rally a few hits off thanks to the General's presence. The Russians get three Hits against the fresh, center French Unit, inflicting permanent losses [yellow '4'].
But the French inflict three Hits against the weakened lower Russian Infantry Brigade with 4 Hits. At '7' hits, it is Bye-Bye Russkies!
Turn 7 finale. The French have two Infantry that are shaky, but the Russkies only have one Infantry left, altho it is in great shape. Time to withdraw to the hill?

Turn 8, the Russians withdraw to the hill, but the French are able to chase them successfully and then get three hits on the retreating brigade! The French also successfully rally off three Hits on the other Infantry Units.

Russians concede. With the one badly shot up infantry, their general in a time-out, and two more French infantry rallying themselves while their Lights harass the Guns, I don't see a way for the two Russian batteries to defend the hill. I regret ordering the Russian infantry to withdraw, but it was still probably the best thing to attempt given the circumstances.

In Eagles, Infantry are the queen of the battlefield - they represent a full brigade with support, and have the ability to both Assault and take ground as well as bring effective Fire to bear, even while maneuvering.

Well, that was a sloppy play-thru, with lots of tactical and mechanical errors along the way. I certainly need to re-play this with my head screwed on better for both sides!

Eagles is showing itself to be a strong but simple play in this draft. While the turn sequence is pretty straightforward it takes a few turns to get used to the subtleties, like Artillery Bombardments happening during the Action Phase and not the following Fire Phase. It definitely works well with OHW scenarios and the OHW varied force structure doesn't seem to be a real problem. I think the Russians could fight as Blue with the French as Red and it will be an interesting scenario with Russian gun superiority to cover the crossing and French Infantry superiority to hold the hill. Hmmm, I'll have to try that!