Sunday, 23 June 2019

ECW Campaign - Game 21

The Battle of Barton Hall, September 1644, has a smaller Royalist force taking up a defensive position against a slightly larger Parliamentarian force who are advancing into the East Midland region.
Battle map and deployments
Royalist forces took up positions with Barton Hall in their centre, cavalry on the left, and dragoons pushed up into the fields on the right flank. Parliament moved up into their positions, cavalry on the right flank to mirror their counterparts, infantry positioned around Barton Hall Road, and dragoons pushed out near the boggy ground.

Having deployed his forces by mid morning the Parliamentarian commander then pushed forward his centre infantry and dragoons. The centre wood split the Parliament line and was proving an impediment for the issuing of commands issues.

Early moves
More untis become engaged in the fighting
Orders eventually reached Parliamentarian cavalry who moved forward slowly towards the Royalist cavalry, who decided the best defence was to counter charge and a cavalry melee was soon underway. On the other flank both sides were taking losses and the fight remained in the balance.

Parliament cavalry advance
A view of the battle at its height
While Royalist cavalry put up a good fight the weight of numbers began to tell. This was the same story on the other flank where Royalist infantry began retiring and consolidating for a last defence at Barton Hall.
The cavalry engagement rages on
Royalist forces retire around Barton Hall.
As the battle moving into the afternoon a depleted Parliament cavalry claimed victory as the last Royalist cavalry left the field of battle. At this point Royalists had lost more than half their units and could not make any attacking moves. While still in good defensive position around Barton Hall, this was not going to be their day and they began to retire. Handing a minor victory to Parliament who as a result will gain control of the East Midlands.

Parliament cavalry win the melee.
Battle movements
The gain of another region is important to Parliament who had suffered a few unexpected reversals of fortune during 1644. With only two months left in 1644 we will have to see if Royalist forces are able to mount another campaign move before the end of campaigning this year.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

ECW Campaign - September 1644

It has been awhile since I last played a game in my English Civil War campaign. This is due to a number of other distractions, the Jacobite paper armies being one such distraction. So far 20 games have been played and the Royalist cause has been able to control the most regions as the 1644 campaign year draws to a close. With the years 1645 and 1646 still to play, I expect another eight battles at a minimum will be played.

One of the objectives of the campaign was to test the One-Hour War-game rules variation using D3 dice. These rules have worked out well and are now settled with no recent tinkering by me for quite a few games. However, they do use free movement and I now plan to convert them to use a 6 inch square gridded tabletop. Why make them gridded? I think the structure provided by the grid will help reflect some of the difficulties of manoeuvring troops during this period, and wth a blog titled "Grid Based Wargaming" it behoves me to at least make an attempt to use a grid when generating house rules. Finally, It will also help motivate me to complete the remaining games in the campaign.

On to the campaign...

Having seen off an attempt by Royalists to control the West Midlands. Parliament has turned its attentions to the East Midlands, and an army begins marching during September 1644.


Campaign map
The carry over campaign cards begin with favouring Parliament. For the remainder of 1644 Parliament is allowed to field an additional infantry unit funded through Excise Taxes, while the unfortunate Royalists forces have been distracted by Clubmen uprisings in their controlled regions and have to reduce their army by a unit. The cards drawn in September have helped address this: Royalists can resupply a unit which is out of ammunition during the game, and there is sickness in the ranks of Parliament's army and they lose a unit.

Campaign cards
The battle will take place at Barton Hall near Kettering. The terrain cards show a flat terrain marked by fields and some boggy ground which effects the ability of cavalry.



The order of battle is diced for and units removed due to the campaign cards.

Royalist Forces:

  • 4 x Infantry
  • 3 x Cavalry
  • 1 x Dragoons
  • 1 x Artillery
Parliament Forces:
  • 4 x Infantry
  • 4 x Cavalry
  • 1 x Dragoons
  • 1 x Artillery
The smaller Royalist force deploys half its units first on a long tabletop side of its choice. Parliament deploys all units on the opposing side, and then the remaining Royalist units are deployed.

Deployed forces

All is now ready for a game this weekend.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Messing around with card activation

While I have been snipping away paper soldiers, on the tabletop I have been playing some WW2 One Hour Wargames, in particular scenario 14  (static defence) to test out a card activation mechanism and using two bases for units.

The beginning of a game
Starting with the multi-base units, each stand effectively representing a section of a unit. The rule modifications are:

  • Bases must remain within 3" of each other
  • Units can shoot as long as one base is within range
  • Bases have a 45 degree shooting arc, and bases can face different directions to increase their coverage
  • Tank bases have a 180 degree shooting arc
  • Providing one base is in cover the unit is considered to be in cover
  • After 7 hits one base is removed and all subsequence shooting incurs a -1 penalty
Taking this approach degrades the ability of units after 7 hits, both in terms of shooting and reduces their ability to hold a frontage. A unit is fully eliminated after 14 hits rather than the 15 in the original rules, sufficiently close enough not to worry about modifying the shooting rules. Units can be tracked using 1 dice rather than 1-3 dice for 15 hits.

Cards get assigned to units
The activation rule modifications are:
  • A card is allocated to each unit at the start of a turn
  • Players then activate their units in card order King to Aces, two identical value cards are then ordered by Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs.
  • An activated unit can move or shoot as per rules
  • When a unit shoots at a target in the open which has not yet activated, the target can forgo their activation and take evasive action. This can be a vehicle retiring out of range or Infantry hitting the dirt. This reduces the number of hit taken by half. There are no penalties to taking evasive actions, other than losing their activation opportunity. Units which have already activated may not take evasive action.
  • Once all units have activated (or taken evasive actions) allocate cards again, reshuffle if necessary.
As a solo wargamer the card activation helps to introduce a level of unpredictability in the game. So far I have played the scenario a couple of times using the activation rules and they have created more interest for me. As I try to coordinate attacks which can be delayed due to the card order or opting to have attacks stall as units hit the dirt to minimise hits.

One optional rule I am considering is allowing a player to swap two cards between units.

One downside of the cards is they can look quite messy on the tabletop.



Sunday, 16 June 2019

1066 Saxon Paper Army Completed

I am now at the last stage of completing my paper 1066 Saxon army. The last two units are about to leave the painting (or should I say cutting table). The army consists of 10 units although likely or not only 6 will be deployed, seeing I am planning for a few games using One Hour Wargame's scenarios.
  • 4 x Housecarl units
  • 2 x Select Fyrd units
  • 2 x Archer units
  • 2 x Mounted Warrior units
  • 1 x Individual commander stand
The completed army
Whether or not I use the cavalry I have yet to determine, but having the mounted unit will allow for some variety within the games.

As I don't plan to remove stands during the games to track hits, paper soldiers look best when units have multiple rows. I decided I would make a test tracker as an alternative to using dice to track hits.

A clock face was found on-line and printed to find the best size.
The printed numbers were stuck to cardboard and the top also cut out.
A spare shield was cutout and glued to cardboard. This will be stuck on to a split pin paper fastener. 
All the pieces completed and ready to be put together.
The completed tracker
And now I need to start working on the Norman army, which will hopefully only take 3-4 weeks to complete. During this time I can think about what rules to use, or modify, and read "A Wargamer's Guide to 1066 and the Norman Conquest" by  Daniel Mersey.

Current reading

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Saxon Paper Soldiers

A quick update on how work is progressing on my Saxon and Norman project. The aim of which is to complete both armies for less than $60 (see a previous post for details and background). So far I have completed two Housecarl and two archer units.

Units completed to date
Project costs so far are:

  • $27 - Battle for Britain 1066 Wargame by Peter Dennis which contains all the pages to photocopy. I already own this book so $27 is based on current pricing.
  • $6 - 4 units completed with each unit costing about $1.50 per unit for photocopying and cardboard.

I am aiming to complete both armies over the next 10 weeks. Each army will have sufficient units to cover the dice generated armies in One-Hour Wargames. This equates to 10 units for each army.


Saturday, 8 June 2019

Battle of Falkirk 1746 with Paper Armies

Having done all the snipping I want to do at this stage for my Jacobite Rebellion armies, and having played one an enjoyable game with the rules provided in the Jacobite '45 book by Peter Dennis. I drafted some house rules for a One-Hour Wargames version for the Rebellion. The One Hour Wargame rules series are very much my go to rules as house rules can be easily added. Having played a couple of small test games, the house rules panned out ok after a couple of modifications. To test these out on a larger game I decided to try the Battle of Falkirk 1746.

(Added note - This post has turned out to be bigger than I expected and also includes the house rules used, which can be found at the end of this post.)

The Battle fought on 17th January 1746, and has the Jacobite army moving to occupy the hill overlooking Falkirk. In response Government forces were then immediately ordered onto the hill. However, due to heavy rain their artillery became bogged and did not take part in the fight.

The battle began with Government cavalry charging the Jacobite right flank. This charge was fought off by some effective musketry and the cavalry routed into their own infantry. The highland centre then charged forward and routed much of the Government's centre. The rain had soaked the musket cartridges so musketry was ineffective for the most part. A complete army rout was avoided by three regiments on Government's right flank which held steady before being forced to retire.

The Game

The game has the following order of battle:

Government Forces


  • Commander - Lt. Gen. Henry Hawley
  • Sub-Commanders - Col. Ligonier and Maj. Gen Cholmondeley
  • 3 x Infantry Units (identified on the map by "R")
  • 3 x Raw Infantry Units
  • 1 x Regular Cavalry Unit
  • 1 x Militia Cavalry Unit

Jacobite Forces

  • Commander - Prince Charles Edward Stuart
  • Sub-Commanders - Lord George Murray and Lord John Drummond
  • 3 x Highlender Units (identified on the map by "H")
  • 2 x Infantry Units
  • 1 x Militia Infantry Unit
  • 2 x Militia Cavalry Units
The tabletop has a ravine on one flank and a bog on the other. The game would start with the cavalry charge after which forces were not required to follow the historical moves. But they did, as Highlander units are best used to charge forward.

initial deployments
The initial cavalry charge
The game would start with the cavalry charge after which forces were not required to follow the historical moves. But they did, as Highlander units are best used to charge forward. 
Musketry routs (eliminates) the Militia cavalry which Jacobite cavalry counter charge.
Having routed the cavalry both lines of Jacobites advance forward with the Highlanders  rushing ahead at 9" a move.
The first volley. Noting that all musket fire was reduced by 1 hit due to rain.
The Government line begins to break as units are routed. Militia and Raw units are eliminated after 13 or more hits, unlike regulars who can sustain up to 18 hits before being eliminated.
Unlike history one unit on the Government left flank holds the line longer than expected due to   an effective rally by a sub-commander.
The last standing Government unit retires off the tabletop.
Well, the game pretty much followed history.

The rules below are pretty much straight from the One Hour Wargame Horse and Musket rules. The key changes are:

  • Highlanders can charge
  • Melee is simultaneous to essentially speed up the resolution of a melee.
  • Weather effects have been introduced
  • Artillery and Mortars cannot move. They remain were deployed.
  • Commanders can be used to bolster moral (remove hits) once per commander.

Jacobite Rebellion 1745 One-Hour Wargame House Rules

Unit Types

This game features the units types of:

  • Infantry
  • Cavalry
  • Skirmishers
  • Highlanders
  • Artillery
  • Mortars
  • Commanders

Some units are classified as seasoned which has benefits when it comes to the number of hits a unit can take before being eliminated.

Sequence of Play

Players take turns and follow the sequence listed below in their turn:

  • Movement
  • Shooting
  • Melee (is simultaneous involving both sides)
  • Elimination

Movement

Units may move up to the following distances when moving forward in a 45 degree arc.

  • Infantry - 6”
  • Cavalry - 12”
  • Skirmishers - 9”
  • Highlanders - 9”
  • Artillery - stationary and allowed to pivot.
  • Mortar - stationary and allowed to pivot.
  • Commander 12”

Units turn by pivoting on their central point. They may do so at the start and/or the end of their move.

Terrain


  • Units are affected by terrain as follows:
  • Woods. Only Skirmishers can enter and provide cover.
  • Buildings. Cannot be entered and block line of sight.
  • Walls. Provide cover to units within 3” for shooting and melee.
  • Lakes. These are impassable to all units.
  • Bogs. Only infantry and skirmishers can enter. Any melees in bogs have their hits halved.
  • Rivers. These may only be crossed via bridges or fords.

Only Skirmishers may pass through and be passed through by other units.

Charging

Cavalry and Highlander are the only unit allowed to charge into other units. Charges are resolved by moving the attacking unit into contact with the target unit. A charging unit may not turn and must move straight on a 45 degree arc. Combat is resolved during the Melee phase.

Units may not charge artillery if the Artillery unit is in contact with an Infantry or Highlander unit.

Shooting

The procedure for shooting for units (other than Cavalry and Highlander units which melee only) is as follows:

Units may only shoot at a single target within 45 degree arc of their frontal facing side. They may not fire into units in melee.

Infantry and skirmishers have a range of 12”, mortars a range of between 12” to 36”, and artillery has a range of 48”.

To determine casualties, units roll a dice when shooting modified by the following:

  • Infantry = D6
  • Skirmishers and Artillery = D6-2
  • Mortars = D6-3

Cover. Units in cover (eg woods or behind walls) only suffer half the registered number of hits (any fractions are rounded in favour of the unit shooting). Mortars always ignore cover.

Melee

The Melee phase is simultaneous with both sides participating. The procedure is units roll a dice when modified by the following:

  • Cavalry and Highlanders = D6+2
  • Infantry = D6-1
  • Skirmishers = D6-3
  • Artillery and Mortars = D6-4

Mortars and Artillery cannot be attacked if they are in contact with a unit of infantry or Highlanders.

Hits are applied to the target unit, which are modified by the following:

  • Terrain - a unit occupying a hilltop only suffers half casualties rounding up.
  • Skirmishers, Artillery and Mortars suffer double hits
  • Flank or Rear Attacks. Units engaged in their flank or rear suffer double hits.

Units not eliminated remain in contact. Units can only disengage from a melee if their movement allowance is greater than that of their opposition.

Elimination

Units are eliminated after taking a certain number of hits which varies depending upon the unit type.

  • Infantry and Highlanders 19 hits (deduct 6 hits if unit is classified as raw or militia)
  • Cavalry 13 hits (deduct 6 hits if raw or militia)
  • Skirmishers 6 hits
  • Artillery and Mortars 6 hits

When removing an eliminated unit, check for any unit within 12” and line of sight. These units will take D3 hits.

Commanders

An army may have 1 commander and up to 3 sub-commanders which are allowed to rally units during a game.

Once during a game a commander, or sub-commanders, can move into contact a unit in an attempt to rally it. Roll a D6 for a commander and remove that many hits. Sub-Commanders roll D6-2.

Upon joining and rallying a unit a commander remains with that unit forth remainder of the game. When the unit is eliminated the commander is removed as well.

Commanders not attached to a unit may not be attacked.

Army Resolve

When all the commanders have joined units to rally them, then no unit may advance towards enemy units.

Whenever a unit is eliminated. Any units within 12" and line of sight take D3 hits. If this deduction causes another unit to be eliminated, then another round of deductions can occur for this second eliminated unit. (Note - It is possible for a sizeable portion of an army to be routed if many of the units have taken quite a few hits.)

Weather

Rain can effect units that shoot and the availability of Artillery and Mortars.

  • if rain -1 from all shooting, and Artillery and Mortars get bogged and are unavailable on a 4+ roll.
  • if heavy rain -1 from all shooting, and all Artillery and Mortars get bogged and are unavailable.
  • If foggy all visibility is reduced to 6" in turn 1 and visibility is increased by 3" with each turn.
  • If snowing -1 from all shooting, and all visibility is reduced to 6" in turn 1 and visibility is increased by 3" with each turn.




Thursday, 6 June 2019

Messing around with unit basing

As I plan my Saxon and Norman paper armies as part of the $60 armies challenge (see previous post here). I thought it would be worthwhile starting with a test Saxon Housecarls unit. I was being a bit lazy and had only cut out and have 6 bases, but the unit just did not look quite right to my eyes - not wide enough.

Three rows.
Determined not to have to cut out figures for another three bases. I tried two rows and the increased width which certainly improved the look. However, the 2D figures do benefit with three rows to give a unit some depth.
Two rows.
In desperation I went with three rows. A row of three bases, a second row of two bases, and a third row of one base. The unit has depth and does look a little more like a mob of warlike Saxons, and not so ordered into rows. So my units will be kept to 6 bases and I use this approach to basing for all units.

The final option - just need to finish off the bases with green paint and flock.
In defence of my laziness the Bayeux Tapestry has units that do not look that neat and tidy...

This weekend I am planning to refight the battle of Falkirk 1756.

Ready for a weekend game

Saturday, 1 June 2019

First game with the Jacobite Rebellion armies

This Saturday I was finally able to setup the tabletop for a Jacobite '45 game. Both sides had seven units aside of sightly different unit mix. I was using the beginners rules from the paper army book which are nice and short, fitting onto one page. They are a subset of the full rules provided in the book which also includes mechanisms for the setup of a game and deployment of troops. Deployment is particularly important for Jacobite units which can start the game "sulky" if not deployed by rank and as a result not be as effective in the game. Giving games a bit more period feel.

I did not really record the game as I was getting used to the rules, but here are a few photos of the game.

Early on in the game as both forces advance 
Skirmishers engage on the flank
Government cavalry making a real nuisance of themselves on the flank 
Charging highlanders force back Government militia, but the regular infantry hold.
Cavalry stop the highlanders from creating more trouble 
Highlander skirmishers are proving to be a handful
The battle in the centre
The cavalry get the better of the highlanders, but are in no state to be effective
The game ended in a draw with the highlander charge eventually failed to rout the Government centre. However, neither side had sufficient units to mount a second attack. Honours even.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Deciding on the next mini-project

As I slowly edge towards the completion of my paper soldier Jacobite '45 armies with a couple of artillery pieces.

I think for my next project I am going to participate in a challenge proposed on the blog wrong hammer.blogspot.com - where "The idea being you buy and paint an army with a view to gaming with it for £30 (or the local currency equivalent) or less in a set number of weeks." For me this will be to build two armies for $60 Australian Dollars to play a One-Hour Wargame.

My plan for this challenge is to do another paper army. I am currently trying to decide between the War of the Spanish Succession or the Norman Conquest 1066. I have in the past made some Normans and Saxons paper soldiers, but would now like to redo them at the increased scale of 42mm rather than 28mm.


I suspect I am leaning towards Normans and Saxons with the aim of completing the challenge over a 6 week period.



Saturday, 25 May 2019

Some books arrived in the post

Three books arrived in the post this week:

  • Rules for Wargaming - by Arthur Taylor
  • Military Modelling Guide to Siege Wargaming - by Stuart Asquith
  • Osprey Warrior Series - Samurai 1550-1660



The Samurai book is for a future project I have planned which is still a few months away from starting. For the moment it will go into the cupboard until I get closer to starting the project.

The Guide to Seige Wargaming was a surprise pickup. While it does not come with any rules, it does provide an overview and advice on the following:

  • The Nature of Fortification
  • The Strategical View
  • A Seige in Detail
  • Sieges Through History
  • Battles Fought to Raise Sieges
  • Appendix 1 - Figures and Equipment
  • Appendix 2 - Further Reading

It was almost a year ago a I played my last siege game as part of the French Indian War campaign. I am hoping to get a few more ideas from this book, such as a siege operation against a fortified house as part of an English Civil War game.

The Rules for Wargaming was first published in 1971 and its 60 pages are packed with 8 rule sets. I have vague memories of the book from a long time ago, when I borrowing it from a wargaming school friend. It is an interesting little rule book covering a number of periods:

  • English Civil War
  • Marlborough's Wars
  • Napoleonic Warfare
  • American Civil War
  • Mechanised Warfare
  • 18th Century Naval Warfare
  • Modern Naval Warfare
  • Air Warfare 1914-1918

The rules themselves aim to remove chance from the tactical actions on the tabletop. For example, in shooting units cause a set number of casualties based upon the firing unit's strength. The book encourages the use of campaigns and map moves preceding the game. Incorporated into the campaign approach is weather, which is determined by the roll of dice, along with unit condition and a general's quality which are effected by the last game played, either positively of negatively.