Saturday, 11 December 2010

Battle of the crossroads – Part 1

I felt suitably inspired last Sunday to finally have a bash at a wargame with the Hinton Hunts. It was a small affair using two terrain tiles to produce a battlefield just 2’ by 4’ and I played solo using my own rules Muskets & Marshals. The game took about two hours to play, lasted only five turns and was surprisingly good fun. This is what happened.

The Duke of Wellington (with his ADC Lord Hill) had deployed the Allied force in line to defend a vital crossroads. On the left were the Naval Battalion commanded by Sir Thomas Picton (resplendent in red coat and top hat) and on the right were the Silesian Landwehr under the watchful eye of old Marshal Vorwarts. Ponsonby’s Union brigade supported the Landwehr while Mercer’s horse artillery was placed across the main road between the two infantry battalions.

The Allied army deployed in line ready to defend the crossroads.
A few hundred yards to the east the Emperor (with his ADC Marshal Bernadotte) was preparing his force for the attack. From left to right deployed in column were the 4th Swiss (General Aldercreutz), the 45th Ligne (Marshall Lannes) and the Nassau grenadiers (General Klingspor). On the extreme right flank were the Imperial Guard horse artillery and to the rear of the infantry line was General D’Hilliers with the heavy cavalry. To the front, deployed in skirmish formation, were the elite 10th Legere in their lovely furry hats.

The French army getting ready to advance.
Happy that all was now ready the Emperor signalled the artillery to open fire at long range on the Naval battalion, which they duly fired upon and failed to hit. Captain Mercer, not waiting for the Duke’s command, gave the retaliatory order “open fire!” to his battery sergeant and the six-pounder’s let rip with a roar.

Mercer gives the order “open fire!”
The first shot from Mercer’s guns flew across the field and knocked brave Marshal Lannes from his horse before bouncing through the ranks of the 45th Ligne where it claimed a further casualty. The Duke was not impressed “The commanders of armies have something better to do than fire upon one another.” he exclaimed to Lord Hill. “Yes your grace.” Hill replied, “but it was a damn good shot!”

Marshal Lannes becomes a “fallen leader”.

The Emperor, angered by the turn of events turned to Bernadotte “Mon dieu! These English are not gentlemen at all. Send forward the 10th Legere, we will show them the way we French play wargames!”

The 10th Legere advance on the Allied line.
The French Light infantry moved up to effective musket range and started to pepper the Allied line with musketry (skirmishers may move up to half a move and fire with full effect). The Landwehr soon lost one man to their fire but then the Naval Battalion suffered a greater blow as the skirmish group to their front rolled 4 sixes!

“We will show them the way we French play wargames!”
The Naval battalion were visibly shaken by the ordeal as Picton rode up and down the line trying to restore order in their ranks.

Picton steadies the Naval Battalion.
At his command post near the church Wellington looked on “Hot work Lord Hill, what time is it now?” “Just past turn two your grace.” Replied Hill. “I think I may ride forward to give Picton a hand (and an extra plus 1 on morale), I’m sure Blucher will hold on the right with the support of Ponsonby’s cavalry.”

To be continued…


Pjotr said...

What a wonderful set up. This is what wargames should look like. Good to see the troops getting some action after all the hard work recruting the armies. I'm looking forward to more of the same.
Would you mind sharing your rules?


Stryker said...

Hi Pjotr

Many thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment. I will post on the rules when I have them tidied up and I hope to have them available as a PDF in due course for anybody interested.


Rafael Pardo said...

A small and tidy combat.... and funny thanks to your comments hahaha
Best regards
P.S. Waiting for your rules!

Stryker said...

Hi Rafa

Glad you're enjoying the battle. The rules will follow I promise!


Paulalba said...

Hi ian,
Superb!!! Great to see your troops finally taking to the field. I was just chatting today about how many battles and schirmishes were fought around important crossroads etc.

Anonymous said...

This is really good stuff, worthy of inclusion in 'Battlegames' or in Phil Olley's recent magazine. It deserves to meet a wider audience!

Anonymous said...


Really good to see them all out and fighting!


Lee said...

Wonderful Ian, troops and terrain all so neat and tidy looking. I like seeing the casualties lying on their side by the units in true vintage wargame style. I'll be looking out for your rules too!

Bring on part 2.


lewisgunner said...

Fantastic. Can we look forward to more narrative pieces??

Would you be able to master speech bubbles??

Anonymous said...

Great stuff- looks like with form like that the French might blast their way into the crossroads? I noticed the "Waterloo" movie references too. They just don't make films like that anymore...

I liked your basing system as well; how many figures per base? Lots of figures cramped in together on one base; Napoleonics look so good and so convincing that way. Nearly enough to convince me to try 6mm!


Stryker said...

Hi there Josh, thanks for the comment. The infantry are based in threes and the cavalry in twos. Each infantry unit also has a single figure and a base of two to allow casualty removal.