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!"

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Envisioning the Battle Plan

Sometimes you just need to stand there and think...

Right now, this guy has got to scale down his game and think about getting more figures!

So, wargaming like generalship takes all sorts of minds.  Some are good at creative thinking, some aren't.  For those of us who need to _see_ what something looks like on the battlefield, there is military wargaming [TEWTs, sand table exercises, etc] and there is playtesting.  Sometimes we don't have time for a full playtest, but we can set things up and move them around.  This has an added advantage that if one isn't playing the game for a result the thinking and planning process is smoother and easier to focus on.  I know that even when I play solo, I sometimes get carried away with how the battle is going and forget to document, take pics, etc.  Don't you??

Here, One-Hour Wargames scenario 12 "An Unfortunate Oversight" returns as an opportunity to "Envision the Battle Plan".  This post is strictly using the OHW RAW and therefore infantry are 6" wide, guns, skirmishers and horse 3" wide, with 12" shooting ranges except for the 48" for guns. 

In the below image, we see what may be an optimal situation for the defender, with a pretty continuous line of defense - the hill cannot be outflanked, the guns can hit everywhere except where the town blocks LoS, and the cavalry and infantry on the other flank are able to advance and contest the ford.  Only problem is that the defenders set up within 12" of the town and will have to spend time moving to get to these positions, at least 2-3 turns.  Still, it helps us envision what a broad if shallow defense of the hill would look like.
If the Attacker - Green - begins fording the river, they are within shooting range of the guns the entire time, and from the infantry within a couple turns.  There isn't space to deploy without being in range of at least some defenders who are on the hill.
However, the Attacker in this force roll-up has two batteries of Guns that can help pave the way for the fording attempt.  The cavalry will protect the guns from an attack out of the town as cavalry may not be a great choice to ford a river under heavy fire with enemy cavalry support on hand. The Attacker's guns can destroy or drive into hiding behind the hill the defender's battery, and probably damage an infantry unit in the bargain.

Below, an alternative to having the entire force under unanswered fire from the Attacker's two batteries.  The defending infantry in the town and just over the river are likely in range of the gun batteries, while a portion of the defending force is behind the hill entirely.  The Attacker only has his three infantry units to force the issue and attempt to take the hill.  With the defense fully engaged, this would be tough for the attacker to win. Also, the positioning is about right for Turn 2-3 for both sides according to the setup rules.
An even more conservative version of the above plan.  The defender has half his force behind the hill, while his guns shell the advancing three infantry.  At least one of them will be damaged and vulnerable to a counterattack by the three defender's behind the hill, which have the option of attacking with a swift charge from the cavalry or using the firepower of the infantry.  From the town, both infantry can easily hit the gun batteries which have to decide to shoot at them or support the main effort while getting fired upon without responding.  The Attacking cavalry is not doing much here. I like this plan for the defense!

Below, the defenders are using a combination of the above plans, with more up front, while the Attacker has moved his guns away from the defense, and positioned the cavalry to ford the river or advance and protect the guns from a sortee by the defender's there. This would be a great little scrap, I think.

Should the defence want to sortee from the town, their supporting infantry would need to advance...
...while the infantry cross the bridge. The guns are threatened but at least one battery can fire upon the attackers [who can't charge in OHW].
The Attacker's cavalry would have to advance and charge the infantry. Hopefully, the guns would have inflicted some damage to them, and the cavalry would eventually knock them out.  I don't think this is worth it for the defense since the victory condition is the hill that is now far, far away.

Below, the defender's swop out the infantry in the town for the guns. OHW doesn't allow guns to set up in a town, but perhaps your modifications do? Or perhaps it isn't a town but a fortification?  An interesting alternative.  Attacking the guns in the town isn't a great choice as they'd fire full effect and take half hits in return.
But perhaps the cavalry would be in a mood to do something extraordinary?  If they charge outside the arc, they would get double Hits canceling the half hits of the town / fortification, so might work.

Having explored this possibility, the below is probably the best plan, with four maneuver units crossing the river to attack, supported by the guns. The two batteries should be able to damage the infantry unit at the point of attack.

Attacker's setup - all infantry preparing to cross and fight, with cavalry nearby.

Turn 1, working the way across the ford at 6" / turn.

Turn 2, expanding the bridgehead.

Turn 3, formed up, but a bit outflanked...will need to spread out a bit, probably to the right so that the guns can keep up the firing.

By laying out the forces, measuring some distances, and watching how fast it takes the attacking forces to maneuver, we can get a pretty good idea of how far they will advance before contact, how many hits the supporting guns will inflict, and a few ideas of choices for the defense.  While the setup will determine what some of this looks like, we will definitely benefit from pondering the possibilities in advance when preparing for a game, especially if we are the game host.  

All of this took about an hour to setup, think about, and write down some notes.  I'd feel comfortable playing this scenario with the preparations I've made at this point.

This method could be used to ponder any of the scenarios when you don't have time to play a full game, or you just want to set up ahead of time and are waiting for your opponent to show. I can't think of any OHW scenario where this wouldn't help.

Hope that this shows you a few of the tricks of the trade that make for success in any wargaming endeavor, whether for fun or for the profession - happy gaming!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

More Toy Soldiers! N Scale Scruby Napoleonics

 These guys got the Old-School Look!
very nicely done, here:

I got a shedload of Scruby N-scale / 9mm from a fellow gamer who got them from a mutual gamer pal who passed away a number of years ago. He kindly gave them to me for my - hopeful - Army staff officer exercise plan. As a fellow Guardsmen, ret., he was sympathetic. As an NCO, perhaps he was thinking that anything that can help officers be more useful is a good thing!?
: )

There are enough figs in the bins for a decent sized French v. Russian confrontation, altho I still have to sort a lot more out. Everything from good to fair to bad paint jobs, to mint metal is in here. I'd like Austrians later. All in the Scruby N scale, and some Hinschliffe Series 12s and a few mystery figs, of course.

- Small glossy toy Soldiers on thick glossy bases [green or brown?  Uncertain...] for ease of handling.
- No flocking?  Maybe...but have to be green bases then, right?
- enough for a 4-player game
- compatible with "Sound Officer's Call" Steve's 4" 10mm Naps unibase frontages [CLICKbut on four bases for more flexibility, and a bit deeper for diorama effect.
- Elmer's glue to snap off and rebase if needed.
- Stiff poses and neat formations, straight off the parade field!?
- A collection of famous regiments and favorite figure types.
- stepped terrain w' possibly a beveled edge on hills

Painting Guide
One book - "An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars" by Digby Smith [CLICK]. No detailed uniforms, just the big picture, sort of an impressionistic look

Obvious choice - [CLICK]. Nice looking, and when scaled to 10mm will look as good as expensive fancy flags!

Litko - A no brainer for their 3mm thick plywood at 12 cents a pop [CLICK]. Easy to pick up, sturdy, shouldn't warp, presentation style, what more can you want?

Additional Figs?
Looks like I will need command figs, and would like some lights that look like they are doing their skirmishing job with some enthusiasm. Historifigs [CLICK] is still making these guys [CLICK].

Eagles Cheaper than Brain Cells, or ECBC as we like to call it. Thanks to some rigorous proofreading and playtesting, the rules are better than ever, albeit in a couple of different versions. But one reason I'm basing mine in groups of 4 is for the occasional battalion level game, which is a level of play I do enjoy!  That might be Neil Thomas' "Napoleonic Wargaming" [CLICK] or "The Portable Napoleonic Wargame" by Bob Cordery [CLICK]. Also, Volley & Bayonet by the venerable Frank Chadwick [CLICK].

Here's some pics of the "Look" I'm thinking about but larger figs:

20mm Hinchliffe

Lovely Hinton Hunt vintage figs - I believe also 20mm

It would have been nice if I was able to find some pics of the N-scale figs on the web, but no luck.  Still, you get the idea.