Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Battle of Armoury Hill - a Tercey Campaign game


The continuing story of the Second Campaign in the Valley of the Tercey …

Rockforth having arrived at his ancestoral home, immediately ordered Hastings to take the units of Urry and Nerne to the Shire Armoury and gain possession of the artillery stored within. Wingate’s Horse joined Hastings shortly thereafter.

Meanwhile, word of Rockforth’s return gave new vigour to the Shire for armed conflict. An unlikely pair decided that the Armoury would be a likely target of the “Imposer”.  Ballard was the officer in charge of its defence. His church preacher and dominate citizen was a zealous and forceful man, Artemus Twill. He cajoled the local citizens and indeed Ballard’s men to haul the large cannon, oddly named “ Sister Margaret”,  to the nearby hill.  Ballard placed his pikemen at the bottom of the hill to protect the gun while his musketeers were hidden in ambush within the nearby woods across the road down which Rockforth’s troops were expected to travel.
Artemus Twill berates inspires Ballard's pikemen

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for the “Tawny”
a large gun (6 points)
Ballard’s Shotte and his Pike units (4 points each with a +1 officer or “agitator” with each )

 for the “Red” (Rockforth’s forces)
Urry’s Horse, Wingate’s Horse, Nerne’s dragoons (all 4 points each), Hasting’s Cuirassiers (half strength)(3 pts)

(Ed. note: while nominally Parliamentarian and Royalist respectively, personal and familial connection within the shire had the local participants go by the tawny (an orange shade) and red designations based on the colour of the officer’s sashes)
——————

“Oh for God’s sake!” Hastings swore out loud. Urry in the lead troop seemed determined to reach the Armoury without delay and did not seem to consider any opposition along the way! Hastings was about to have an aide sent, when a cloud of smoke and shortly thereafter a report of a cannon shot had him look up in alarm.
“The gun is no longer IN the Armoury” was his muttered response.
"Sister Margaret" is being readied to fire. My activation for 'her' was quite successful this battle.

THE BATTLE OF ARMOURY HILL

The cannon fire fired at long range did but few casualties on Urry’s lead unit which seemed unaffected at this (passed morale) and continued their trot up the road.  Obviously Wingate’s troopers following saw the few mangled bodies in the wake of the cannonball as they balked at further advance (failed activation)
Wingate's horse move against the gun
Some of Ballard’s shotte in ambush too excited by the cannon fire, let off their arquebuses too early exposing their position ( I deemed a failed activation to fire to have revealed their ambush.  A successful activation would demand a morale check on the target regardless of casualties…a good idea I think for any games which might have hidden units)
Ballard's shotte in ambush
On the ‘Red’ side, Wingate now advanced but chided away from the shotte in the woods and allowed the dragoons of Nerne to move from the fields to the left to deal with Ballard’s shotte in the woods on the right side of the road. Urry continued his advance on the hill and cannon.  Hastings, wary of committing his small troop (at half casualties from the previous battle), held back.

Ballard’s shotte once again failed activation ( ordering a reload?) However Nerne’s Dragoons spent time kicking off the mud from the fields as they too failed a move activation.

While it could have been a tactical mistake as it was not ordered, but Ballard’s pike had indeed gained a semblance of close order as they crowded around to hear preacher Twill’s words. They now moved into contact with Urry’s troopers.  The pike won the clash and Urry fell back in good morale until “Sister Margaret” boomed once again, with the remaining lone trooper losing heart and falling back out of the action.
Urry pushing aside Ballard's pike to continue up the hill to the gun.
Under Nerne’s dubious leadership (indeed this unit has very much under-performed!) the dragoons don’t advance, don’t shoot, nor even return fire from their exposed position. (4 times they failed to activate to do anything!)

Meanwhile near the hill, Wingate following Urry, charged the Pike pushing them away and opening up the way to the gun when that beast shot again (surprisingly owing to the high activation factor of the artillery) and killing many of the horsemen with “the greatest of slaughter” (all but one of the dice were hits ! ) and the few remaining willingly gave up the attempt to capture the ordinance and rode off.
This ended the battle and Twill and Ballard gave praise for their victory.  Rockforth was denied his gun. What will his next move be?


A popular local tune, sung to an ancient drinking song, contains the battle’s history:

Urry came up, all in a hurry

Wingate came up, in a short gait

Hastings wasn’t hasty, at all

Ballard’s men fired

b’ they want to retire

Twill chided and preached

t’ pike couldn’t be breached

But when hence Sister Margaret doth fire

Rockforth men did hastily retire

to ask ‘im “what now sire?”!

Apparently it sounds much better accompanied with local county music and many a good beer.......


6 comments:

  1. Stirring stuff again! Your narrative and photos make for great reading.

    I'm still finding that a field gun, as opposed to a regimental gun, seems to unbalance a skirmish game. My, as yet untried suggestion, is to require a field gun to make an action to re-load. That way it can still wreak its havoc but only on every other turn - at best. It then becomes a trade off between power, range and rate of fire. You pays your money and you takes your chances sort of thing.

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    1. I created the poem/song myself! Did you like it? :)) Yeah, silly stuff, but it keeps me amused.

      For sure, when the field gun hits, it hits hard but I was lucky to fire it three times in this battle. It has an activation of 8. Which is very high only 41% or needing double 4's or better. With artillery I always leave it to last because it will fail more than not. Those times it does not fire, it can be considered to be loading, time aiming, time to reposition etc. and so doing all that already as your suggestion would imply.
      Do remember also that the big gun cannot pivot (or costs a move activation to do so) and thus most targets can avoid its aim. The field gun is bringing a big unwieldy mallet to a gunfight so is not the best of weapons I agree, but the rules already make it so, I will suggest.
      Anyway, glad you enjoy my simple literary efforts.
      Cheers.

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  2. Nice little campaign happening, Doug. I guess you're using 'The Pikeman's Lament'? FYI: I found a simple yet intelligent set of free fast-play ECW rules online, called 'Victory Without Quarter'. They are sort of similar to Osprey sets.

    Cheers,

    KevinA

    Here's the link:

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2z9Y0PeMN7TMjVmOGU3NDItMmYzZC00Y2RiLTg1YjItNjRhNGQxNDRkZTlm/edit?ddrp=1&pli=1&hl=en#

    See also:

    http://declaresir.blogspot.ca/2016/05/victory-without-quarter-rules-review.html

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    1. Yes using TPL. As it is very similar to the other Mersey rules, I use them so I don't need to re-learn the rules each time I bring a different collection out of storage every 10 years or so! ;))
      cheers

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  3. Huzzah for Sister Margaret! This is a fun little narrative. I need to talk Bill into another game of TPL soon.

    ReplyDelete