Η λίστα ιστολογίων μου

Τρίτη, 2 Απριλίου 2013

Bridge Across the River Die

It's been nine months since I last wrote here. Wow! You can have a kid in this amount of time. Well, real life conspired to keep me away (moving to a new home, camera knocked out of action during move, my personal computer shortly after). Still, I've kept up with painting plastic crack and here is a celebratory come-back with nothing less than a battle report. My opponent was none else than Thanos, the extremely talented modeler of the Miniatures and Terrain blog.

Although my primary areas of interest are fantasy and WWII wargaming, I recently dabbled in Napoleonic wargaming. Ah, yes, the time when real men got their hair curled and wearing pink, green and riding boots was a fashion statement. And lace. Let's not forget the tons of lace and pipping you'll have to paint. So I picked a rule system that is light on rules and even lighter on figures, Song of Drums and Shakos from Italian Ganesha Game. SDS uses the Song of Blades and Heroes engine which is rules-light and forces you to make some interesting tactical decisions on allocating actions to your miniatures. Being a skirmish game, it uses a small number of figures, typically no more than 20 per side. It took me about two months (including the normal break times for work, the Mistress complaining and the Young Master falling ill) to complete all the figures and terrain for this particular game. I'm pretty sure that someone could do it in half the time though. Although the figures used were 1/72, I used the scales for 15mm figures, mainly because my current gaming table is 60cm wide (normal playing area for 1/72-28mm figs is 90cmX90cm).

The scenario details are as follows. A group of French line infantry (together with their officer and two members of the Old Guard) have been stationed in an old farmhouse, next to a bridge. Their orders are simple: hold the bridge against British probes. A small force of British troops (five Riflemen and their officer together with some center company infantry with their officer and NCO) have been ordered to force a crossing, essentially conducting a reconnaissance in force. The south side of the map is covered in woods, except for the road leading to the bridge and the north side is essentially open, other than the farmhouse and its low wall. Thanos decided to use the British and that left me to defend the honor of the Emperor and France.


Turn I found the redcoats split into three groups. The center company infantry was positioned on the road leading to the bridge, three riflemen and their officer on the right flank and two more riflemen on the left flank. All groups advanced cautiously, with the center company NCO being a little more zealous and running to the top of the bridge. The French had one of their line infantry together with the grenadiers hold the north end of the bridge while the rest of the fusileers holding the south wall of the farm. The officer was behind the line of fire able to command both groups. The flag-bearer was close by acting as a rally point should things go sour. The French line infantry on the south wall fired on the Rifles skirmish line, forcing one of them back, deeper in the cover of the copse. They reload. One of the  Old Guard fires on the foolhardy NCO, forcing him to drop for cover and reloads.

In Turn II the British start using the longer reach of their rifles. The British riflemen on the left fire, missing one of the grenadiers. More determined rifle fire on the British right forces two of the French infantry to drop for cover behind the stone wall. The British CO however rolls snakeyes leading to a changeover. The French have had enough of this pesky rifle fire. The Grenadier that got shot returns fire, killing one of the riflemen on the left and then  reloads. One of the line infantry moves from the south wall to the bridge, but the French officer also rolls double "1"s leading to a turnover.



On the beginning of Turn III, the British right flank advances, leaving the tree line. The center squad of redcoats advances and crosses the bridge at a run. The NCO manages to stand up. The rifleman on the left flank fires and misses. The French decide to fight the British hand to hand. One of the redcoats is killed and one is pushed back, with the Grenadier following on his advantage.


The British CO correctly deduces that this is the turn that will make or break the battle. He advances and fights hand to hand against the French. End result, he and one of the infantrymen are wounded, forcing a morale roll for the NCO and remaining redcoat on the bridge. They both fail and decide to run like crazy (wise decision). On the French left, the infantry stands up behind the stone wall and fires at the Rifles officer. After three shots, the officer falls wounded and the troops decide to fall back running, except for a brave fellow who stands his ground.


End result: 4 British dead  and wounded (including both officers), not even a scratch for the French. This was a pretty solid win for the French. In the post-game discussion with Thanos, we determined that he would have been better off moving his entire skirmish line of riflemen on his left flank and used it to fire from a defiladed position to the French holding the north end of the bridge. That, or some cavalry, which is next on the painting block.

That's all for now from sunny Athens.