Tuesday, 28 May 2019

The Burning of Waller Farm, FIW - Rebels & Patriots

Having agreed to put on another game of R & P at the club, as the day approached, thoughts turned
to a scenario. And while I had a few ideas, what should land on my doormat, but edition 102 of
Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy and inside, was an R & P mini campaign based on the war of 1812.
There were three small scenarios, two of which involved variations on attacking a farm or plantation, which lent themselves to my collection of FIW figures. Therefore my scenario was loosely based on the ‘Burning of Waller farm’ 28 Aug 1814.

Our last couple of turn outs at the club have been quite large, so my thought turned to putting together forces that would lend itself to at least two a side, with the option to include a third if necessary, with yours truly as umpire. As it turned out (isn’t it always the case!) turn out was low and I ended up playing. Not a bad thing by any means, but it did mean that I wasn’t following things across the table as I should, so this report will be a bit one table sided! The other fallout for planning for larger numbers, was that I put together 2 x 30 companies per side, to be played on a 6 x 4 table. As you will
see from the pictures, this was a bit to much and led to a crowded table. But with plenty of ‘toys’ to
move and shoot with, it didn’t seem to bother the guys!

The rosters for the game are available on PDF and can be sent on by contacting the club
on the email contact in the side bar.

Each force was based on a regular and irregular company per side, and I do like to include all the little ‘tweaks’ – so there were green, timid, veteran and aggressive troops, good shots amongst the
skirmishers and bad shot and aggressive Indians. I also included 1 gun per side.

The objectives were for the British to burn the two barns (yes they look like houses, but they were
barns for this scenario!), the hay bales and destroy the crops. The French aim was to prevent this
Chas & Vince took the French/Canadian, while Colin and me had the British/Loyalist. We did roll for
officer ‘traits’, but I didn’t note them down!

Colin took the British regulars, who I said could deploy straight on, while the Loyalist/Indians had to
dice for each unit to come on. On the French side, Chas had the Canadian/Indians opposite Colin,
leaving Vince with the regulars (also coming straight on) opposite me. Some of my Indian & militia
troops didn’t fancy the fight early on and had a couple of turns rest!

Vince and his French advanced, as my first troops approached the fence. We started to get into long
range musket territory, with the first casualties starting to occur. But with a minus for long range and
light cover, no devastating effect.

On the other side of the table, Colin appeared to be making slower progress, but Chas seemed to be
swarming forward!

A unit of my skirmishers crossed the fence and got to the first hay bale, next turn, up that went in
smoke. Suddenly, across the table, Colin rolled double 1 (bad!) on his action test! This or a double 6
(good!), then leads to a roll on another table. In this case, it was another 1, ‘Friendly fire!’ ‘The unit
you have just tried to active opens fire at the closet friendly unit to its front and within range….roll to
hit as normal, but the target counts as in cover (whether it is or not)’. This could be painful! Luckily
for me it wasn’t, no casualties on twelve dice!

Colin now had one of his units at the first barn, that also went up in smoke! As did another hay bale
on my side. Colin managed to get his Highlanders (shock infantry) into action against some French
light infantry, and after an inconclusive first round, saw the French off.

Casualties were starting to mount on both sides now, with various units taking disruptions and
having to fall back. This was all down to musket fire, with the British artillery yet to get into action
and the French gun being largely ineffective.

Chas rolled a double 6 for one of his activations, and then another 6; ‘Reinforcements!’ An extra 4
point unit. I did have to check, but that only happens once a game, per company, no matter how
many times you roll 6, after a double 6. Sorry Chas!

The second barn, and the crop field were now alight, and with multiple units now routed off the
field, it was declared a British/Loyalist victory.

I am liking these rules and will aim to continue to play more games. The guys seemed to enjoy it,
although we agreed it is more of a ‘game’ as opposed to ‘simulation’, but who cares when you have
the ‘toys’ on the table, you’re having fun, and have the usual disagreements about line of sight!!
Thanks to Chas, Vince & Colin for an enjoyable game

As noted earlier, on a 6 x 4 table, 2 x 30-point companies per side are a bit much. I have played with
2 x 24 pointers and this seemed to work better.

But for real inspiration, look at the game put on at Partizan using R & P! Its huge!!

The Battle of Assaye, using Rebels & Patriots, as staged by the Boondock Sayntes at this year's Partizan - more pictures in the link below

One day maybe…….

My figures are a mixture of Galloping Major, 1st Corps, North Star & Foundry, buildings by 4Ground

This was a Steve M game

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Samnites v Romans - Hail Caesar

Our third game at club last month was a 15mm Hail Caesar game put on by Nick and Steve L and involved a strong Roman force reinforced by Campanian allies taking on a Samnite army supported by Gauls.

Both armies were split into four roughly equal infantry divisions with sufficient cavalry to make another two if the players wished to break them off.

The Romans set up with most of their heavier cavalry on the far left of the table with the Campanian allies off to their right, two bodies of Romans held the middle with the intention of taking the central position containing a ruined temple and a small village.

Out on the right facing the Gallic wing of the enemy army was the last of the Roman infantry along with what remained of the cavalry.

The Samnites held the centre with their heavier infantry and placed the rest of their infantry either side, the Samnite cavalry faced off the Roman cavalry out on the wing. The Gaul’s were given the left hand side for their mixed force of warbands, chariots and cavalry.

The Roman cavalry and Campanians had a bit of a problem, they were facing two Samnite infantry blocks and a strong force of cavalry so whilst the Romans held back their cavalry south of the nearby woods and guarded the edge of the table, the Campanian long spear phalanxes along with supporting infantry slowly advanced whilst trying to maintain contact with the forces either side.

In the ensuing combat the phalanxes held the initial Samnite rush with their heavier armour helping to slightly nullify the pilum coming their way but casualties quickly mounted on both sides for those who were not so well equipped.

Over time both sides were tiring with most units seeing red dice indicating shaken status replacing the normal white ones however only the larger Campanian units could absorb so many hits and their weaker supports started to leave the table along with some of the Samnites.

To their left with the enemy coming around and over the wooded hill and threatening their allies flanks the Roman cavalry had to now get engaged and try and hold them for as long as they could.

Overall they had the upper hand and the Samnite cavalry was pushed back all along the line however the supporting infantry ignored all this and closed in on the open Campanian flank. With no help available it wasn’t looking good if you weren’t a Roman with access to a horse.

In the centre the heavy Samnite foot had occupied the buildings and ruined temple, here they faced two divisions of Romans advancing in their traditional three lines of Hastati, Principes and Triarii. Try as they might the Romans couldn’t dislodge the defending Samnites and sluggish movement through the village and dogged resistance from the rest of the Samnite infantry prevented them from turning in on the Temple from the flanks.

The two sides slugged it out without conclusion so let’s move on to something more interesting.

On the Roman right a solitary Roman infantry division had the problem of hordes of ‘hairy Gaul’s racing towards them along with a substantial mounted force.

The supporting Roman cavalry consisted mostly of lighter troops and using the traditional tactics of darting in and then evading as necessary managed to slow up the Gallic chariots and cavalry for some time, eventually of course they had to commit and after a valiant struggle they and their single unit of mediums were broken but not before causing their enemy to take significant damage and putting them out of the game for several turns whilst they reorganised.

As the cavalry melee was reaching its dénouement, the Gallic warbands and the Roman infantry finally met each other on the top of a nearby hill.

The Romans lost, badly. Their smaller units could support each other whilst the large warbands got in each others way and generally had to fight singularly but when you only take four hits to be shaken and the enemy have nine attack rolls then it isn’t going to be easy especially at this time only the Hastati have Pilum and the Triari are the only ones with Heavy armour.

The Romans hung around for two or three turns but there were just too many Gaul’s and all of them were in much larger units and so after lopping off sufficient heads to take back as presents for the wife and kids they went looking for more action. This happened to be the Romans still trying to clear the village and temple.

The Romans now with both flanks collapsed and the Samnites showing no sign of being forced out of the Temple ordered a general retreat, which wasn’t going to be easy but as no one plays retreats it was therefore deemed to be pub time.

This period of Roman history is quite interesting as they do not have the overwhelming advantages found later on; there is only limited use of the Pilum and only gradual improvements in armour. You also have a large variety of different opponents to take on and who, when they are not fighting the Romans, fight amongst themselves and this expansion of Rome into central and southern Italy would make an excellent campaign.

We followed the Hail Caesar rules more or less as written with only minor changes, we allowed a single direct move ahead after failing a movement order for the unit or group concerned so as to speed things up, for the same reason we allowed the Gaul’s to move through the woods without penalty otherwise it’s a long way to come for the day and not do any actual fighting for the player concerned.

Figures are mainly Xyston with some Forged in Battle
Buildings: Forged in Battle
Terrain Mat: Tiny Wargames
Rules: Hail Caesar by Warlord games

This has been a Mr Steve Production