Monday, 30 September 2019

Spartans strike back!

With the daughter enjoying her first game of Mortal Gods and giving her old man a bit of a hiding, it was time for a rematch. This time I allowed her to pick her force from the cards, and she surprised me with a large quantity of light troops. Would this be another Sphacteria? We would see, because I went for a hoplite heavy Spartan force.

The scenario involved securing an objective and having it in hand at the end of turn 5. We randomly decided deployment and ended up in opposing triangles with the apex on the objective. Things looked ready to become a nasty killing zone in the centre.
The two sides deployed. The Athenians right next to the objective, the Spartans one charge move away!

Seen from the Athenian side of the table, this should have been a simple snatch and run, with missile troops providing cover.

Athenian Peripoloi prepare to pick up the objective.

By the end of the first turn we have a pile in situation. The Athenian Lochagos is trapped behind his own troops, and sits idle as the Spartan heroes deal death.

Seen from the perspective of the relatively unengaged Athenian light troops, it is hard to fathom who is winning in the temple ruins.

By the end of turn 2 the Athenian hoplites have been evicted, the peripoloi are defeated and their lochagos has been sent to Hades. The Spartan rolling in this turn was exceptional

The Spartan Helot Akontistai have suffered badly, but have occupied the attention of the Athenian Promachos.

By the end of Turn four the Athenians are in real trouble, and the Spartan promachos is making off with the objective.

'Catch me if you can!'

The Aiodos did pretty much nothing all game...

The Spartan hoplites suffered a couple of hits which an early omen card was able to shake off for them.

The end of turn 5 sees the Athenians barely holding on and no chance of capturing the objective.

'Molon labe!'
So the Spartans gained their revenge for their previous defeat. Talking about it afterwards I said that it was probably always going to be a tough ask for a light infantry force to win with this objective and this deployment, but getting the Athenian Lochagos trapped was also a bit of a mistake that didn't help.
Another battle is on the cards soon.


Thursday, 12 September 2019

Battle for the River El Boa - a Post of Honour AAR

As per the previous post, everything was set up for a conflict between the two rival forces operating along the El Boa river in Spain. The sides consisted of the following:
The Bourbon Allies:
French Brigade: Auvergne and Orleans infantry regiments along with 1 gun, and the La Reine Cavalry regiment operating independently.
Spanish Brigade: The Sevilla and Burgos Tercios with 1 gun and the Mahoney Dragoons and a militia unit of paisanos operating independently.
The Autricista Confederates:
Infantry Brigade: Starhemberg's regiment, Rivers' Regiment and St Amant's Regiment, along with 1 British gun. Independent to this Brigade were the Killigrew's Dragoons, Zinzendorf's dragoons and a unit of Miquelets.

The scenario was simple. The Confederates had to make sure that the Bourbons didn't cross the El Boa. If they couldn't prevent this from happening they were to evacuate their baggage from the village of Sullaro from turn 4 onwards. Included in the Baggage was the British Gerneral the Earl of Rottenborough's mistress. The stakes were high!

Turn One: With the artillery firing the Bourbons began their advance.
Both Allied brigades moved up to the banks of the El Boa

The artillery began to do some damage to Rivers' Regiment

French artillery firing in support of the advance
 Turn 2: The cavalry began to move for the open areas on either flank, while both Allied infantry Brigades advanced one regiment forward in oblique attacks that concentrated in the centre.
Zinzendorf's Regiment line the bank of the El Boa

Starhembergs' Regiment opposes the Auvergne regiment as it begins to ford the river.
 This is where I added a rule. It seemed wrong that in the middle of the crossing of a river a regiment should be able to fire with near full effect (they had a -1 to their firing for moving their full move). So I decided that any formed unit in difficult terrain should only fire and melee with half dice. I had a quick look through the rules, but I couldn't find a negative modifier like this.

Turn 3:
The leading regiments are struggling out of the river, but Auvergne has taken 4 hits and now counts as weakened. The Old Purples are crossing the swampy difficult ground where the river ends.

Starehmberg's men continue to poor volleys into the hapless French, whose return fire is rather ineffectual due to being in a weakened state.

On the far flank the Miquelets and Paisanos are engaged in skirmishing in the woods, neither side able to get the upper hand - all battle!

Meanwhile at the other end of the battlefield, the La Reine regiment lines up against the Zinzendorf's. Who will dare to charge across the river?
 Turn 4:
The Auvergne regiment has had enough - they have the dubious distinction of being the first unit to rout in the game.

Killigrew's Dragoons charge Mahoney's Dragoons on one side of the field...

While The La Reine takes the plunge at the opposite end.
 In this turn the wagons started moving. The cavalry combats were indecisive, neither side able to overwhelm the other and both retreating 3".

Turn 5:
With the Auvergne Regiment gone theOrleans boys step up with a massive volley, ably supported by the French artillery.

Both cavalry units are weakened after a second round of combat. Nothing for it but to withdraw and try to rally.

In the centre the Burgos Tercio charges Rivers' Regiment and sends it scurrying. St Amant's Regiment tries to cover their rout.

General Rottenborough tries to rally Killigrew's men. 

Another view of the Spaniards chasing away the English...

There goes another cart.
 Turn 6:
St Amant's Regiment poor a final volley into the Old Purples, who, exhausted after wading through difficult terrain , have had enough.

But Starhemberg's men are also in the same boat. Having seen of the Auvergen regiment they just don't have enough left in them to defeat the fresh Orleans regiment as well. They withdraw, but the French cannon turns this into a rout.
Turn 7:
And then the Burgos Tercio does the same thing to the St Amant regiment

The Killigrew Dragoons have rallied and attempt to cover the withdrawal of the Confederate army, but as the target of all the Allied artillery, they are weakened again.

The Orleans Regiment advances across the El Boa to join the Burgos Tercio in the final advance.

At the end of turn of turn 7 the Allies have secured the field, although Sullaro has been totally evacuated.
Once again this was a quick game. Just over an hour to play, and with moments that hung in the balance. There was some abysmal dice rolling by some units (I'm looking at you Miquelets!), and some heroic stands as well. Mahoney's Dragoons - inferior to Killigrew's who are basically full cavalry units, managed to roll all it needed to stay in the game and push their opponents back. Zinzendorf's dragoons, faced with the same situation on the other flank managed to use the river bank defensively to good advantage.

In all it was a draw. The Allies forced the river while the Confederates managed to evacuate Sullaro just in time. Lord Rottenborough may have lost his centre, but he kept his mistress.

I really enjoy the Post of Honour rules. Units have greater survivability than in Honours of War, everything is intuitive and reference to the rules is kept to a minimum. I haven't found anywhere that I need to alter them for the Marlburian period. It will be interesting to see when I have more cavalry painted and I'm able to use them as a Brigade with their own general, how tactics will evolve as reserves and tactical withdrawals behind friends in order to rally become more important.


Sunday, 8 September 2019

The Battle for El Boa river - the set-up

Having played a Post of Honour game a few weeks back I've been keen to get a second game in, but this time I want to have a few more units on the board. Recently Phil Olley posted an old scenario from Wargamer's Newsletter on his blog, the battle of the River Elbow. He has put together a scenario from it called the Battle of the Elbaubach for his Wars of the Vaubarian Succession. This was played out at the Cotswald Wargaming Day which I was unfortunately unable to attend due to 18,474 kilometres of distance, but luckily Keith Flint's blog linked above and Chris Gregg's blog gave me plenty of photos of Phil's set-up for me to adapt it to my collection.
The only problem was that I didn't have enough units painted, so the last two weeks has seen me scurrying to get everything that I need painted - interrupted, of course, by the inevitability of work and life. I had hoped the result would be a game today, but as I have only just finished flocking the last bases, that may not be possible. Nevertheless, I have set up the table, and here are a few photos before I get down to the serious business of gaming.

Looking from the Allied side of the table towards the Confederate lines across the River El Boa

Another panoramic shot down the river with the armies deployed on each side.

The Miquelets, now finished and based with a command stand

A side view showing the flag. Lighting is poor today, so I've had to use the flash for photos from this angle.

Opposite we have some Spanish paisanos.

The view from behind the Confederate lines.

The French brigade, which I belted out in the last couple of weeks.

The Spanish Brigade

Close-up of the new French gun.

Confederate infantry with, from left to right, Starhembeg's Austrians, Rivers' English and St.Amant's Dutch
The French general commanding the Allied left wing

I'm looking forward to playing the Post of Honour rules again. I'll put up a battle report when I'm done.