Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The 98:Death on the road to Bubblin

BGORA cavalry forces finally came to life and ran down the retreating survivors from Fort Chuck. This was all rather unfortunate for the ailing Col. Henri Simmering as one more good march would have brought him to safety across the Iffey. 

 The fourteen figures or the 62nd formed square. The corner pointing towards the approaching Guinaleans was reinforced with the two remaining guns of  D Brigade RFA.

The three squadrons of the 26th Light Dragoons were drawn up, two forward, one back, to the south of the square. The intent was to draw the Guinaleans on to the square and then launch the 26th in a counter stroke.

For my part the Guinaleans were deployed with wolf mounted skirmishers on either flank. In the center D'Orcreilly's Lizards, three squadrons of light dragoons, formed up in column of squadrons.

The skirmishers would advance first, taking the brunt of the square's fire, and reigning arrows on down on the 62nd.  When the square was sufficiently disordered, D'Oreceilly would charge home.

The orc guns soon fired off the last of their ammunition, the gunners seeking refuge in the square. 

With Col. Simmering still convalescing in his wagon, command of the 62nd fell once again to poor Major Foppers. It may be remembered that Foppers too had been wounded at Fort Chuck. However his wounds were less severe and he was back in action...until a Guinalean arrow brought him down again.

 At this the square faltered and D'Orceilly saw his chance.

The charge was ordered.

The brave 62nd stood their ground and the cavalry reigned up short of their goal.

The 62nd vollied! Sadly for them their reduced numbers and confusion sorely affected their firing and not much damage was done.

And still the wolf riders circled, reigning death.

With D'Orceilly committed, the forward squadrons of the 26th Light Dragoons charged!

The wolf riders fell back before them. D'Oreilly counter charged, still, unfortunately for me, in column of squadrons.

D'Oreilly's bog orcs were defeated and retired back up the road to Ork.

Had the 26th been able to reign in and regroup the day could have been theirs. 

A certain overzealous conduct of pursuit has always been the hallmark, and bane, of Albion's cavalry and so it was here.

Disordered in their pursuit, the 26th was set upon by wolf riders loosing arrows in the dragoons' flanks.

At this point the 26th's reserve squadron, drew carbines and exchanged fire with the wolf riders.

While the drama of the 26th's charge played out, the last of the 62nd fell, heaped around their standards pierced like so many pin cushions.

The main body of the 26th soon regained control, and covered by the fire of the reserve squadron, made off south towards the bridge over the Iffey.

Losses had been heavy on both sides.

The Guinaleans, in possession of the field, fared rather better in post battle recovery.

Final Guinalean losses were 3 lizard riders, and 4 wolf riders.

The 26th Light Dragoons lost 3 figures.

D Brigade RFA was wiped out. Not that hard when they only had 2 guns to start with.

The 62nd lost all 14 of 14 figures engaged.

As a rule the Guinaleans do not take prisoners.

What then are we to make of this:

Colonel Henri Simmering went on to command the reconstituted 62nd in Inja and Cataluca, still aided by his protege Major Foppers.

Stranger still was the reappearance about the same time as Simmering's of the regiment's senior Sergeant, Obidiah Hogswill....


Finally a successful pursuit! That's one less battalion and battery to be faced at Dungslough.

Apologies for any deficiencies in the photos.  My goal was to get on with the game and the lighting was not the best.

For those interested, the wolf riders are ancient Games Workshop figures recently painted by the author. The wagon is from Old Glory painted by the author in the dim dark past. All of the other troops are from Alternative Armies and pained by their talented staff.

The terrain tiles are also from Old Glory and the sky back drop by Lemax.

By the way, extra credit to any who noticed the road was running the wrong way. The fork in the road should have been north rather than south. Mea culpa.

Hope you enjoyed the tale and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The 98: Marching Through Guinalea

Following on from the skirmish near Barney, the campaign entered a more mobile phase.

Here is a situation report covering days 9-11 or and interestingly enough, the days. May 26-28th as the campaign once again caught up to real time.

Maneuvers up to May 28
You may left mouse click on the picture of the map above to see a larger version of it. If you left click on that larger image you should see an image still larger again.

Here's the current disposition of forces roughly from west to east:
  • Gen de Brigade Fefalas has 5 battalions of foot and one battery marching on Sluggo. An additional battalion has been split to garrison Naughty Rhyme and Illskilling as well as to guard POWs.
  • Col. Ranacavallo has two squadrons of light hippos on the road from Sluggo to Dungslough
  • Gen de Division Hochemont has 2 battalions of foot, one of lights, 3 squadrons of heavy horse, and a battery of guns and is marching south from Barney.
  • 1 additional battalion of foot is garrisoning Barney.
  • 1 squadron of light hoppos is enroute from Barney to Bubblin by the coast road.
  • Gen. Moult has 1 battalion of primitive foot  2 battalions of light infantry, and a battery near Fort Chuck.
  • Col. D'orcreilly has 3 squadrons of dragoons and 6 of wolf riders pursuing the 62nd foot and 26th Light Dragoons down the coast road to Bubblin.

After issuing a proclamation to the Guinaleans, I, in the role of Hochemont, detached the 54th to hold Barney, and headed south for the Sluggo - Bubblin road.  I have also dispatched a squadron of the Legion du Rospo hippos, the only force of light cavalry at my disposal, to demonstrate north of the Iffey  River at Bubblin. It is my intention to bring my force to the south of Bubblin to cut off any enemy troops that may be tasked with holding the bridge and prevent them from reaching Dunglsough where no doubt the final battle of the campaign will take place.

And this brings up my major failing in the campaign as a whole so far. Although I have regularly defeated enemy forces encountered I have not successfully pursued them. Well that is not quite correct. Dear Ranacavallo of the Legion du Rospo Hipps had done a splendid job of keeping the defeated enemy moving and providing me with information on the enemy and the country generally. What I have been unable to do is defeat the enemy in detail. 

With only two squadrons under him, Ranacavallo is too weak to actually attack any of the forces he has been chasing and it is my lack of light cavalry generally that has been the greatest problem so far.

Mind you the BGORA forces under Moult are well supplied with light troops. However their movements have been sluggish in the extreme to the point that I have issued a courier to Moult outlining my intentions and urging him to move down the coast from Ork as soon as possible. Outside of that I do not plan to include his forces in my calculations here after.

Sadly, General de Brigade Fefalas has proven a poor division commander. Perhaps it is an after effect of the wound he suffered at Naughty Rhyme?  I have been sore tempted to replace him with Wolfe Toon, but the thought of Ferach troops serving under Guinalean command is irksome.

In any event, Fefalas with 1st and 3rd brigade, minus one battalion committed to garrison duty has fallen way behind Ranacavallo and has not been much use in pressing Albion forces.

Indeed Sir Morcambe N. Wise has managed to bring the battered 21st, nearly intact Artists and Poets Yeomanry, 12th Light Dragoons and 5 guns into Dungslough to shore up whatever defenses are being prepared to receive us.

On the plus side both Illskilling and Sluggo have fallen without a fight and better yet are sympathetic to our cause. Ranacavallo tells me that reliable sources among the Guinaleans also report that Gallston is free of Orcs.

So much for what I/Hochemont knows. Here are some things Hochemont does not know and I shouldn't (although it is sadly unavoidable).

  • BGORA cavalry has finally pinned down the retreating 62nd foot and 26th Light Dragoons just north of the Iffey River. Battle is certain.
  • The Major Grifter of the now under-strength Connartist Ramblers had decided to take his command to Fort Chuck, unaware that the fort has already fallen. However, and rather embarrassingly, the Major has got the Ramblers lost up in the hills. 
  • Col. Ranacavallo is chasing a detachment of light infantry and half a militia battalion which will also be able to add their strength to whatever awaits us in Dungslough. At this rate the defenses there will be quite strong.
That ought to bring you all up to date.

The end is in sight now, one way or the other : )

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The 98: Delaying Action South of Barney

The Situation Around Barney.

When Ferach troops were spied approaching Barney the brave commander of the 88th Connartist "Ramblers" faced a difficult decision.  Clearly the light infantry battalion was no match for a reinforced brigade of Elves, Bunnies, and Toads.

Indeed in the confines of Barney, where the towering presence of Barney Castle made violence magically impossible, no defense could be mounted.

Major Grifter considered his options:

He could remain in Barney. The magical Ban of Aggression would mean that no harm would come to him or his Bog Orcs. Then, when the time was ripe, his command could sally forth to cause mischief on the Ferach lines of communication. 

No, that wouldn't work. It would be all too easy for the enemy to contain the 88th. It would be a comfortable internment, but an internment none the less. Even if Grifter's sense of honor could allow such a thing, his loyal Bog Orcs would never stand for it. The mere thought of the Green faction despoiling their fair Guinalea was enough to send any loyal Bog Orc into a rage.

The Major considered his second option; take the road to the east and reinforce the garrison of Fort Chuck. Little did Grifter realize that even now the fort was falling. Such a move promised succour, even if it did mean putting himself under that windbag Simmering's command. However, and this led him to his third option, that would leave the roads to the south wide open.

The pass! Yes, why not. Defending the pass would ensure independent command and the action the 88th coveted.  If the enemy moved south, a delaying action would be in order. Hold them up for a bit and then melt into the hills to regroup and then raid. If the enemy didn't move south...well that would lead straight to the raiding part! So much the better.

The decision made, Grifter assembled his Bog Orcs and set out for the hills.


General Hochemont, his staff, and his escort.
The previous evening General Hochemeont had issued his proclamation in which he had lavished praise on this land, its peoples, and its beliefs. In truth Hochemont felt this place had the dimensions of heresy. He sought to end the campaign quickly and make his way back to civilization.

"That clown Moult and his band of rebels have proven entirely unreliable. I shall deal with the orcs using Ferach troops alone. Let these country cousins sing and boast about the rising of their clans after it is all over. Guinalea for the Guinaleans indeed. I simple wish to return to my estates..."

To that end the General had taken the road south.  A quick march to the south bank  of the Iffey and any defenses sited along the river will be useless. Bubblin would fall quickly. From their on to Dungslough and successful end to a dreary campaign!

From the crest of a hill, General Hochemont surveyed the road.  He could just make out red jacketed shapes moving around the ruins of a henge and some stone walls. There was a cairn off to the General's left. A sign that once before  there had been a battle here. "Strange place this Guinalea, who knows what horrors might lurk here" he thought. "Still the Emperor wants it and I am but an instrument of his will".


View from the Henge.
Major Grifter considered the bleak landscape stretching out before him. "Sgt. Morrigan! D*mn your eyes, Boggy, even if your spooks don't come to our aid, this is where we  shall stand! I want the road and gateway barricaded post haste."

"Lieutenant Dimwhiddle! Take a company and establish a piquet on the hill to our left. Don't want Johnny Elf pushing a gun up there and firing down on us. Now Orc, now or I'll have your hide!"

Lt. Dimwhiddle's piquet and post.
"We can't hope to hold them short of some miracle but we can slow them down and make them pay for the privilege of using this road. Remember my fine Boggies, fire and retire, fire and retire!"

With that Major Grifter and his bog orcs settled in, waiting for the Ferach advance.


2nd Brigade deploys.

Just what is going on here?
Dear readers normally I would not play out such a one sided affair. The Connartist Ramblers have no hope of stopping the Ferach Juggernaut. None at all. In a solo or indeed even in a competitive campaign this sort of encounter could easily be resolved with a toss of the dice.

That having been said, I have been working on the school of the skirmisher and wanted to try out some tweaks to the way skirmishing troops are handled in Muskets & Shakos, and for this situation is providential in that sense. 

Unlike the other games in this campaign, where the rules have entirely handled the opposition, this time around I have made a plan for the Ferach troops to follow, and will be playing as Major Grifter.

The Ferach plan is simple. The single squadron of du Rospo Hippos will advance as skirmishers to reconnoiter the hill to the west of the road.

At the same time the du Rospo light infantry will proceed in skirmish order down the road and engage the 88th in a firefight.

The 54th Ligne has been assigned the task of assaulting the henge. The 54th has also been assigned to garrison Barney, and so will be tasked with containing the 88th should they escape into the hills.

The rest of the Ferach troops will simply march down the road, avoiding casualties and getting on with the liberation of Guinalea.

My plan for the 88th is to fire each time the enemy comes into range, and fall back if pressed.

To make the whole thing a wee bit more interesting there is a twist. This battle is being fought on one of Guinalea's perennial invasion routes. As such should a dice roll result in reinforcements for either side, those reinforcements will take the form of a random number of undead armed with melee weapons.

Those rallying to the Ferach cause will start adjacent to the cairn by General Hochemont.

Those rallying to the cause of the loyal Bog Orcs will start adjacent to the alter in the center of the henge.

Following is a brief account of how the game played. As usual simply click on any photo to see a larger version of the same.

As planned the du Rospo Hippos moved out in skirmish formation.

The du Rospo light infantry began skirmishing with the 88th.

The 88th's piquet engaged the du Rospo Hippos while the main force of the 88th fell back before the Ferach assault.

Ferach forces gained the first wall of the enclosed henge. Surprisingly, and unfortunately for me, the du Rospo lights were dishing out more damage than they were receiving. No matter which side I play, my dice rolling skills remain the same: poor.

Faced with Lt. Dimwhiddle's post, the du Rospo Hippos form up in close order.

Skirmishing continues around the henge while the 10th Burrovian Ligne start down the west side of the road.

This is where it all happens : )
Faced with a breastwork of biscuit boxes, the du Rospo Hippos turn to find an open flank... the process exposing their own flank and losing a figure.

The main body of the 88th has now been pushed back to the rear wall of the henge enclosure.

The dashing Col. Monaciello chomps his signature cheroot as he leads his toads ever forward!

The 88th now quite literally has their backs to the wall.

Finally a reinforcement roll succeeds! To bad its for the Ferach who really do not need the help.

Lt. Dimwhiddle managed to withdraw his company while the du Rospo Hippos were maneuvering to outflank him.
The 88th in the henge have been reduced to two figures.

With a couple of parting shots (both misses of course), Major Grifter leads the remnant of the 88th into the hills.

Final losses during play:
88th: 6 out of action, 1 missing, out of 12 present.
Du Rospo Hippos: 1 out of action of 3 present.
Du Rospo Lights: 1 out of action of 12 present.

Quite a convincing victory for the toads.

General Hochemont's march has been held up for half a map move.
What of the rules?

These worked very well indeed.
Skirmishers have always been the sort of elephant in the room when it comes to games where the player is a division or brigade leader. Some rules simply abstract them into a plus or minus factor and otherwise disregard them. Others have detailed rules for deploying and fighting them.

Based on my reading of battle participant accounts the former approach is right out. The skirmish line was of great concern to brigadiers and division leaders an often became a resource sink, with greater and greater numbers of men committed over time leaving their parent formations that much weaker when push came to shove. The alternative of course was to not deploy very many skirmishers at all. However it soon proved to be one of those things where if your enemy used them you had to use them to.

A good deal has been written about how hard it was to control skirmishers once they were sent out. To that end the latter approach to simulating their use is a improvement over the former. However this second approach often gets bogged in minutiae, with substations of this stand for that one and artificial limits on who can be sent out to skirmish and who cannot.

In Muskets & Shakos I am taking, it is hoped, a middle road. Anyone can be sent out to skirmish. It is their skill level that will dictate whether or not you will ever be able to get them to rejoin their parent formation.

Similarly, once deployed their movement rate is variable which can lead to some head aches when you really want to push your assault. Do you simply march through them reabsorbing those you can, or do you wait for their sometimes maddeningly slow advance? Conversely they can be off like a rocket. Will your supports arrive in time to prevent your skirmish screen falling prey to a well timed enemy charge?

Finally the most important question is "how many of your troops can you afford to risk"? Because once you send them out you have no guarantee of being able to recall them.

Well that's it for now. 

Hope you enjoyed the report!

And as always, thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The 98: Hochemont's Proclamation to the Guinaleans

Even as battle raged at Fort Chuck outside of Ork, General Hochemont, leading 2nd brigade and the heavy cavalry arrived at the outskirts of Barney Castle. 

The Connartist Ramblers, who had been the garrison of the place, quickly withdrew for points south.

Hochemont had feared they would remain in the castle, forcing him to leave troops to watch them. Luck was on his side as it had been so far throughout the campaign/ Perhaps the luck of the Guinaleans is no myth?

In any event the Ferach column was keenly observed from the castle walls.

For here was the seat of Guinalean spiritual power. The site of Barney Castle had been sacred for ages past, and none, it was said, could  rule Guinalea without the blessings of the castle's Laird.

General Hochemont lost no time in seeking an audience while his troops settled in their latest billet.

That afternoon, the General assembled his troops before the castle walls.

The time was ripe, he reckoned, to read the proclamation he had so painstakingly worked on even before the invasion fleet had set sail. In an emotional voice, intended to carry the truth of his statements, the General read:

"Hochemont's Proclamation to the Guinaleans:
25 May, ‘98

Hochemont, member of the National Institute, General-in-Chief:

For a long time, the Orcs governing Guinalea have insulted the Ferach nation and its traders. The hour of their punishment has come.

For too long this assortment of slaves of the Ogre Kynge Gorge tyrannized the most beautiful part of the world; but Cernunnos, on Whom all depends, has ordained that their empire is finished.

Peoples of Guinalea, you will be told that I have come to destroy your religion; do not believe it! Reply that I have come to restore your rights, to punish the usurpers, and that I respect more than the Orcs Cernunnos, His Prophet, and the Ogham Stones.

Tell them that all men are equal before Cernunnos; that wisdom, talents, and virtue alone make them different from one another.

But, what wisdom, what talents, what virtues distinguish the Orcs, that they should possess exclusively that which makes life pleasant and sweet?

Is there a good piece of farmland? It belongs to the Orcs. Is there…a fine sheep, a beautiful house? They belong to the Orcs.

If Guinalea is their farm, let them show the lease which Cernunnos has granted them. But Cernunnos is just and merciful to the people.

All Guinaleans will be called to administer all places; the best educated, the wisest, and the most virtuous will govern, and the people will be happy.

Of old, there used to exist here, in your midst, big cities, big canals, a thriving commerce. What has destroyed all this, but Orc greed, injustice, and tyranny?

. . . Druids, tell the people that we are the friends of the true Guinaleans.

Did we not destroy the Orcs, who said that war should be waged against the Guinaleans?

 Did we not destroy the Hobgoblins, because those insane people thought that Cernunnos wanted them to wage war against the Guinaleans? Have we not been for centuries the friends of Barney (may Cernunnos fulfill his wishes!) and the engines of his engines? Have not the Orcs, on the contrary, always revolted against the authority of Barney, whom they still ignore? They do nothing but satisfy their own whims.

Thrice happy are those who join us! They shall prosper in wealth and rank. Happy are those who remain neutral!  They will have time to know us and they will take our side.

But unhappiness, threefold unhappiness to those who are themselves for the Orcs and fight against us! There shall be no hope for them; they shall perish.

Article 1. All villages within a radius of three leagues from the locations through which the army will pass will send a deputation to inform the Commanding General that they are obedient, and to notify him that they have hoisted the army flag: blue, white, and red.

Article 2. All villages taking up arms against the Ferach army shall be burnt down.

Article 3. All villages submitting to the army will hoist, together with the Guinalean flag, that of the army.

Article 4. The Druids shall have seals placed on the possessions, houses, properties belonging to the Orcs, and will see that nothing is looted.

Article 5. The Druids shall continue to perform their functions. Each inhabitant shall remain at home, and prayers shall continue as usual. Each man shall thank Cernunnos for the destruction of the Orcs and shall shout "Glory to Barney! Glory to the Ferach Army, friend!"  May the Orcs be cursed, and the peoples of Guinalea blessed!


This proclamation was to be posted on the door of every hall and temple in the land...

Will this turn of events give the invasion legitimacy in the eyes of the world?

Somehow I doubt it.

The figures are all but one from Alternative Armies. The castle is Old Glory's wonderful Dracula's Castle. Terrain tiles are from Old Glory. The hill the steps is from Lemax as is the tree that adorns it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The 98 Day Eight: Assault on Fort Chuck

We left off before the Easter Truce with BGORA poised to launch an assault on Fort Chuck. The fort was garrisoned by the 62nd Foot and a battery of guns under Colonel Sir Henri Simmering.  The 26th Dragoons are also pert of Sir Henri's force but were released to serve as distant cover rather than being cooped up in the fort.

Opposing Sir Henri is the full might of the Benevolent Guinalean Organized Republican Arm:y under General Moult. The BGORA consists of one battalion of line infantry with melee weapons only, two battalions of light infantry, two regiments of light wolfriders, one regiment of medium lizard riders, and a battery of guns.

Clearly Sir Henri had his work cut out for him.

General Moult started the day with a prolonged bombardment of the fort. The very first shell seriously wounded Sir Henri and the command fell to his subordinate, Major Foppers. This would prove a significant event.

The bombardment ended with two Albion and two Rebel guns out of commission, as well as the loss of Sir Henri.

General Moult then committed his light troops to skirmish with the fort's defenders.

A lucky shot felled Fangorc, commander of the Orchill Defenders. The resultant confusion kept this unit of light infantry out of the fight for two turns.

Eventually the battle soon settled into a routine with the light troops seeking weak spots...

...and the defenders shifting troops to meet them.

With 6 shots coming in for every 2 going out, the 62nd's losses soon mounted.

Major Foppers was severely wounded in his turn to be succeeded by Captain Wiggem.

And still the skirmishing continued.

 As night started to fall, the firing slackened off...
...until it ceased entirely.
A quick head count after dark showed the 62nd had lost their two most senior officers as well as fully half their number killed or severely wounded. The supporting battery was reduced to a section of two guns.
BGORA losses had been surprisingly light, and well distributed among the assault force.

As it happens Sir Henri had only been tasked with holding up BGORA's advance for a day and this he had done.
Covered by the 26th Light Dragoons the 62nd retired on Bubblin.

The rest of the Ferach forces had not been idle while the assault was underway. General Hochemont's force reached Barney although what transpired there will be the subject of a separate post.

Coupled with Simmering's retreat this now means that all Guinalea north of the line Naughty Rhyme - Barney - Ork is now in Freach/Rebel hands.

More as it happens and thanks for stopping by!

PS: I should probably add that the 62nd and Royal Artillery are Alternative Armies figures painted by Alternative Armies; studio painters, BGORA forces are mostly GW with some Alternative Armies figures all painted by the author. The fort is from Warlord Games and the table top tiles are from Old Glory.