Friday, September 8, 2017

Crossing Point!

The Ground. Despite appearances the hill is treated as a gentle slope.

Equipped with the new Pedion tiles, have been inspired to try another of Charles S. Grant's "Programmed Wargames Scenarios". The book, for those not yet familiar with it, contains 18 tabletop scenarios, as well as two mini campaigns, that allow a player or team to play only one side of the engagement while the book handles the enemy forces and reactions. In fact it is also possible to play most games on "autopilot' where the book can be used to make decisions for both sides.

The Book. Highly recommended.

In this instance the scenario is "Crossing Point", and I shall be playing the aggressor, Red. I have chosen to play the attacker as, quite frankly, I am not very good at being one, much preferring to use maneuver to force the enemy into that role. 

In this instance however a bridge must be forced so I shall have to give it a go...at least until I get across the river!

Have decided to make this a part of a narrative campaign that started with another river crossing battle that I reported on the Alternative Armies and Orcs in the Webbe Facebook pages. In that instance I played the defending army of Albion, and stopped the advance of a Coltzen brigade of werewolves supported by centaur lancers.

For this game I have reversed roles and will be playing for the Ferach Empire. The rules are a hodgepodge of ideas based on Young and Lawford's venerable Charge! rules. For this game a new wrinkle will involve firing in full groups of six only for line troops. This mechanic joining variable moves, as the main departures from "Charge!".

The crossing will not be unopposed.

Here is the situation: "Blue (Albion) has a small force, which has moved north at great speed to secure the crossing point and arrived there in the early hours of the morning. They know that a Red (Ferach) force is on the way to seize the crossing and is likely to start arriving from the north shortly after dawn. Blue has reinforcements on the way but they are being hastily assembled and may arrive at any time during the day and in any order. Dawn is at 06:30".

My first task was to dice for the composition of my forces. The result has given me 5 battalions of  line infantry ( 20 figures each), one battalion of light infantry (12 figures), 1 light cavalry regiment (10 figures), 1 medium cavalry regiment (10 figures), 1 heavy cavalry regiment (10 figures) and two gun batteries (1 gun and six crew each).

From that I came up with the following OOB;

Marshal Sault G.O.C.

1st BDE (Ferach) - GdB Sylvain Haute (Deliberate)
1/66th Legre
1/23rd Ligne
1/12th Ligne

2nd BDE (Coltzen) - GdB Prinz Jozef Ponyitowski (Deliberate)
1st Diberian Line
2nd Diberian Line
1st Visthowla Legion

3rd BDE (Combined Cavalry) - Col. Antoine Fortune du Jeu (Rash)
1st Coltzen Lancers (Centaur)
7th Dragons (Elf)
2nd Cuirassier (Elf)

Divisional Artillery - Majo Boulette de Canard (Rash)
1st  Freach Battery
1st Diberian Battery
Train

So, my Generals de Brigade show no outstanding characteristics but at least du Ju, and de Canard, are elves of action.

Next my entry point needed to be determined. I will enter from the northwest thus...

Coltzen cavalry and elven light infantry advance
accompanied by Marshal Sault and his staff.

Order of march: Coltzen Lancers, 1st BDE, Legere leading, 1st Ferach Battery, Train 2nd BDE, Visthowla to the rear, 1st Diberian Battery, 7th Drgons, 2nd Cuirassiers.

Arriving at 08:30 the light cavalry found the enemy in place south of the crossing. At this point I needed to dice for the composition of the opposition. Blue had 6 line infantry, 1 light cavalry, 1 heavy cavalry, and 2 batteries available. No light infantry! That fool Wogan must have sent Sharke off on some piffling errand, much to my delight. Still a sizable force.

Symmerson's South Mordor Regiment of Foot
and A Battery RA prepare to give my elves a warm reception.

Dicing for their deployment only 20%, or two units were already on table. The South Mordor and a battery of orcish guns stood south of the bridge ready to contest my advance. I should rather Symmerson had been true to form and put some of his command on the north side of the river where I could crush them, but at least Albion's initial force was small. The remainder would arrive by one of three points, all south of the river; the west corner, the center, or the east corner of their table edge.
Colonel Symmerson proudly surveys his Regiment while his
faithful, if borderline psychotic, Sgt. Major consults " 'is Muvver".
Note the limber in the orchard left background.


Given that time is of the essence I have devised the following rather less than cunning plan:
  1. The light cavalry will split into two squadrons, one moving up, and one down the riverbank looking for fords, and keeping me apprised of any enemy coming from that direction. Not sure if the scenario allows me to look for fords, but that seems a sensible precaution.
  2. The 66th will deploy into open order and engage the enemy gun west of the bridge.
  3. The 23rd will form east of the bridge and engage the South Mordor with volley fire.
  4. The 12th will form an assault column and cross the bridge, presumably engaging the South Mordor. Looks like the bridge will only take four figures abreast, so this part won't be easy.
  5. Guns to support 1st BDE.
  6. 1st BDE should orient its bridgehead to the east.
  7. Second BDE to remain in reserve for either a second assault across the bridge or for follow up and exploitation of 1st BDE's assault. 2nd BDE should orient its' bridgehead to the west.
  8. 7th Dragons and 2nd cuirassiers to form divisional reserve.
Hopefully what the plan lacks in subtlety will be compensate for in its simplicity.

Coltzen centaurs admirably fulfilling the light cavalry role.

Next time we will see how it all unfolds.

The story continues with Crossing Point 0945

Thanks for stopping by!