Sunday, 17 July 2022

1859 Game concluded

This post is for my wargaming friends Peter, Craig, and Kevin who suffered through my 15mm 1859 scenario on Friday night.  

With introductory rules, a (probably) too numerous contingents, and a flawed deployment consignments, the battle was only half-concluded by late night.

The next morning, looking at the table, thinking to put everything away, I decided I had the time to play the game out and perhaps clean-up the rules in the process…and yes, have fun playing.

We had concluded on Friday with the Austrian maneuver, so I started at the “top of the inning” with the Piedmontese continuing their rather ‘measured’ advance on the Austrian held river crossings.  I continued with Peter’s usual low dice rolls for unit initiative [ in fact, rolling no higher than 3 for all twelve Piedmontese units! This on a simple d6 die…..]

The Piedmontese army of 1859.

The Piedmontese advance (left) and the Austrians (in white) defending the town and river crossings

The French continued their attack on the Austrian left wing.  The Grenadiers of the French Imperial Guard combined and threw back a Hungarian unit but the attached French General was killed. This would not help the activation of the other units in his division.

The French Guard Grenadiers combine to attack the 'Hungarian' unit.

The ‘African’ Division of elite Zouaves, Turcos, and French Foreign Legion had already been worn down but the large stoic Austrian formations.

A interesting combat happened as the tiny but eager French Guard Lancers unit , resplendent in white, charged into their Austrian counterparts down the tree-lined road but were ignominiously bounced! They quickly rallied but the second round on combat against the equally tiny unit of Austrian Uhlans all but destroyed both units.

The tiny French Guard Lancers (in white) charging down the road - to their doom....

The now infamous particular Piedmont unit formed in road column ready to assault the town crossing, again rolled several successive ‘1’  for maneuver, declining every effort to move, like it had for Peter!  It was thus that the Piedmontese struggled to get any coordinated attack against the towns.  However, in a bold, some may suggest foolhardy attack, the small unit of elite Piedmontese Bersaglieri moved gained the most northern town and surprisingly continued to hold it against overwhelming odds as the Austrian masses could not coordinate any serious counter-attacks. But the Austrian attacks would eventually occur against the small unit beleaguered Bersaglieri so the Piedmont General attached himself to the only untouched infantry unit left to him and would try to lead it across the bridge into the town. However, the well-placed Austrian guns along side the town blasted him and many of the would-be attackers, stifling all thought of further Piedmontese assaults.

The elite Bersaglieri (on road) bravely attack against overwhelming numbers and succeed to gain the town! (yes, dice rolls had much to do with this!) 

It must be confessed that the Austrian commander started his retreat north to his LOC but that the Piedmont holding of the their only town was tenuous and the French elite troops were largely destroyed, this might have been premature ....but very historically accurate depiction of the Austrian High Command attitude!   

The battle was concluded at that point, both sides worn to exhaustion but the Austrians with more intact units giving them the slight victory.

Sunday, 3 July 2022

National Holiday = an all-Canada battle

To celebrate the National Holiday,  Peter came over for a good ‘ol all-Canadian fight during the War of 1812.  My ‘Chateauguay’ Collection represents some of the units which fought that pivotal battle which an all-Canadian force of English and French speaking soldiers and heavily outnumbered defeated a major advance toward Montreal by the Americans in their effort to cut the supply route to the rest of the colony.  During this campaign during the year 1813, interestingly no British troops took part.

The small scenario I proposed, was the safety of a supply wagon, along with the retreating Americans, from the pursuing Canadian forces.  Hampton, the historical American General in charge of the campaign, a drunkard and rather poor commander, insisted the wagon must be preserved at all cost - it held his entire brandy supply! - and if some of the units also could be preserved all the better.  

The main American force with the 'brandy wagon' and ill-led artillery on the road, the 10th US in column moving towards further defensive positions to the rear and the 30th US in close order along the rock wall to face the Canadians.

We used ‘Rebels and Patriots’ rules from Osprey publishing but I thought to add the leadership rolls for each unit from their colonial ‘The Men Who Would Be Kings’.  This had the effect of changing the activation rolls significantly.  The American artillery was run by a fool.  My 1,1 roll had it at an activation of 10+ which did not allow it to move all that often!  In a fighting retreat that is not that effective.   It was eventually captured;  although after it had thwarted an attack by the equally ill-led Quebec Sedentary Militia.  Both Peter and I rolled double ones for these leadership tests…and by the end of the evening had rolled 11(!) double-ones activation and morale results!     

An unfordable separated the length of the table, with an American unit trapped on the wrong side until it could cross over and get back across the border.  Peter as the Canadian, could choose to have a unit or more pursue or not.  All in secret, I placed the rather poor American Volunteers to that side and he choose his best lead unit, the Select Embodied Militia - a well-trained formation - to hurry them along.  Within a few turns the Americans broke and ran allowing the SEM to cross over the river to block the main American retreat.  

The 'Montreal Sedentary Militia' in their 'capots' and toques (Canadian hooded coats and woollen caps) While the figures are slightly modified from the FIW, are still appropriate for this era.

The American 30th and 10th Infantry did well to hold off the Canadians, but the effective fire from the Montreal Sedentary Militia who benefited from the unit leadership roll (Peter rolled very well in this case) slowly broke the weak American will and they would eventually also break and run for the border. 

The American regulars form up behind the defensive walls.  However they would soon break and run.

While the unit-points were even, the leadership rolls had big consequences to the game, as did our usual poor rolls - as noted above - and the Americans in retreat had to retreat yet continue to face the Canadians advance, with the added problem of choosing which unit NOT to activate, allowing the wagon to possibly move.  Management problems affected each side which made for an interesting game.  

Hampton could toast to his return to the USA; unfortunately his command was destroyed and his artillery was captured, so Canada Day would be celebrated with some fireworks.