Last Tuesday Graham and I gave our newly painted War of Spanish Succession armies their first outing. I used my Allied Imperial-Prussians (Austrians in grey in the diagrams, Prussians in blue), against his French (white). The battlefield was fictional. Rules are Black Powder, with modifications (as per other entries in the Barracks), figures are all Pendraken 10mm.
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INITIAL POSITION (Click to enlarge on new page)
The French drew up in two wings/brigades of 5 battalions, while I chose to have the two odd battalions as a reserve, under the direct command of the Commander in Chief, making each wing four.
Our first problem was who should move first. Being Gentlemen of the Age of Reason, we both insisted we would be insulted if the other did not take this honour. A duel (suggested by Graham’s wife) was impractical, so we agreed to settle as gentlemen in a fashionable club might, and rolled dice. My 8, beating his 7, the Allied Armies moved first. For convenience I will refer to the top as North, left of the table as West, an the end with the marsh as East.
(More after the break)
Both armies advanced slowly, a fact blamed on the fact the Prussian and the Austrian armies had trouble understanding each other’s dialects of German, and the Hungarians could understand neither, while I recounted a fact from ‘QI’ – apparently French was very much a minority language in France until the 19th Century, so the various regional troops on the table were obviously unable to understand their commanders! The Prussian troops reached the river first, in time to see the French Cavalry crest the hill. Their C-in-C had been unable to get the two reserve battalions to move at all.
The French then arrived at the river, only for both sides to watch the cavalry ‘blunder’ the command roll, and gallop back to their own line – The Irish horse regiment (the middle one) having further language difficulties perhaps?
This is the West of the table. – Prussian Cavalry on the right of the river. The number counters show hits already suffered- the regiment of horse at the very bottom is ‘disordered’ – shown by jiggling the stands a little.
Both sides now lined the river bank, giving fire, while the Prussian Cavalry made charges which were repulsed.
This is the view from behind the French Centre.
The French Cavalry regained the hill, luckily for the Prussians the reserve began to move, and the Commander swung them right to cover the marsh.
In this map, you can see the unsuccessful Prussian cavalry charges pressing home. Please note that some of these maps are a composite of a few turns – however as real battles are not alternate moves, I feel that we can understand those 3, 4 or 5 moves can represent a definate period that can be shown on one map! If I split each turn up I would have lots of near identical maps.
(Incidentally – the maps are produced by the free “Battle Chronicler” software, available to download.)
The first casualties were a Prussian battalion, and a French cannon.
The French attempted to push across the river, and although some troops gained the opposite bank, the Allied armied held, and the Prussians launched a counter attack.
You can see some of my ‘casualty markers’ in these two, to use instead of the numbers. I still use the numbers for hits in excess of the unit’s stamina, as these are removed at the end of the turn. The numbers are actually the ‘doubloons’ from the Collectable plasticard “Pirates” game, which was a fad a few years back. The ships are what I use for Kiss Me Hardy – I got a load of packs cheap, then fellow club members donated me a number, when they realised they would rather they get some use in KMH, instead of gathering dust (thanks Henry and Mark).
The French forced the river. but the Prussian counterpush cancelled the advantage out. Being late in the day, after the French move, I sent a emmissary to offer Truce, and allow the exchange of prisoners, while both armies withdrew to their respective sides of the river. The battle thus ended a draw, neither side being able to inflict significant or telling casualties on the other. In the picture below you can see one of my guns reversed, to indicate confused status. While the French (centre right) would have almost certainly destroyed the battery on their move, the unit in front of them would have reformed and poured fire on them.
Further along you can see some of my battalions advancing on the flanks of the enemy on the East of the field.
This is a rough map of the outcome (you’ll note the artillery on the left behind rather than in front of the Austrians, as per the photo). The French Cavalry had been held and shaken at this point – it was my turn next, so they could have been in trouble if the units on their flank could wheel.
Final Position, looking East.
You’ll have no doubt noticed I base 2 rows of 3, Graham 2×2 – both are on 20mm bases, and make no difference (Our frist game used counters of 40mm width, Black Powder is flexible). I base cavalry on 25mm, to match the rules, which has bases of 40 and 50 for infantry and cavalry, while Graham keeps a uniform 20mm. My generals are on 30mm bases, the guns on 60×30. I have each gun in both limbered and deployed, meaning the towed gun is actually limbered, rather than the deployed gun with loaders placed behind the limber. The C in C is on a 60mm square base – you can see it in the background of a couple of shots – he’s the one who has brought his carriage!
We were both pleased with the way it played, though I realised later we forgot Command -1 for being within 12 – we use cm, not inches. This matches the fact we have 10mm figures not the 28s the rules writers use, and allows a game on a 5′ x 3′ dining table. The rough ground halved movement. On reflection we should have had any unit that charged across slowing terrain lose its +1 per die hand to hand charge bonus, but we didn’t think of it at the time.
In the new year I intend (hah – this is a wargamer who hates painting, and wants to get forces for ‘Charlie Don’t Surf’ out next!) to add a further brigade of 5 Austrian units, plus 2 regiments of cavalry (in the army box waiting to be painted), one of these being Cuirassiers, as well as another couple of guns. This amount, with the base sizes, are chosen as they fit neatly into a two tray ‘Very Useful Box’ (a name both simple and accurate) – each tray having 15 (3×5) 60mm square compartments – one fits a 6 base battalion plus its 3 wound markers. Top tray is all infantry, the bottom everyyhing else, with room under that for papers