Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day Bash

Having all of my June Saturdays earmarked for visits to universities with the twins I was keen to use Father's Day as an excuse to play a wargame.  Andy and Rob came over and we had another go at 19th century Principles of War.

Again, we used my (mostly Irregular Miniatures, 6mm scale) Franco-Prussian War minis in the guise of those venerable enemies the Vereinigte Freie Städte and the Grand Duchy of Lorraine. This time the VFS were allied with the Prunklanders (who look a lot like Bavarians). As the story tells it:

Following an ill-judged declaration of war by Grand Duke Albert of Lorraine, the Grand Duchy has been invaded by the forces of the Vereinigte Freie Städte and their Prunklander allies.
A VFS army under Feldmarschall von Frinck has laid siege to the city of Syrah and is bombarding it from siege battery positions spread around the outskirts.  Lorraine’s Army of the East is trapped within the walls of Syrah.

Meanwhile, a small Lorrainer army under the Vicomte de Froufrou has evaded encircling VFS forces and is now marching towards Syrah.  Lacking the strength to engage the whole VFS army, Froufrou plans to launch a swift attack on the besieging units to the west of the city thus creating a weak point through which the Army of the East can launch a breakout.

A grand siege battery sits beside the St Coutarde road, west of Syrah.  A brigade of Prunklanders guards the rear of the guns.  It is here that General de Froufrou’s hammer-blow will fall.  Other VFS forces must march towards the sounds of battle if they are to save the day.

This photo shops the battlefield before the action started.  Ignore the cardboard markers in the foreground; they were just there to demonstrate the various formations on movement bases used in POW.

Rob, as General Pinzl, took charge of the Prunklanders and Andy took the role of General the Vicomte de Froufrou.  I planned to bring on the VFS main forces subject to a die roll but in the end they only arrived at the very end of the battle - too late to make any difference.

The grand battery beside the St Coutarde road -
de Froufrou's objective.
The scenario gave me an opportunity to use my Irregular miniatures Prussian siege gun (albeit only as an objective marker).

A cluster of farm buildings in the centre of the table would prove the focal point of the battle with Froufrou launching his main attack at that point and General Pinzl's Prunkland forces maneuvering to oppose them there.

Lorraine infantry (right foreground) and artillery approach the Prunklander
position north of the farm.

The Prunklanders form into two lines north of the farm.
Meanwhile, the Arquebussiers de Grassin occupy the farm.
Andy launched his powerful cavalry on a wide flanking march but thanks to Andy's atrocious dice rolling they never really got anywhere.  We've changed the name of phase 4 of the turn sequence to "The Phase Where Andy Rolls Ones".

Froufrou's cavalry start their wide left hook flank march.
The fight in the centre and on the Lorraine right was tense.  Several units were forced back temporarily (I later discovered we'd been playing the rule wrong as regards how far a unit "retires shaken") before returning to the fray.

The Lorrainer infantry advance towards the Prunklander artillery line, masking the fire of their own
guns in the process!
General Pinzl directs the Prunklanders' defence...
... whilst de Froufrou practises an air of calm insouciance.
The crucial clash - lines of infantry meet at the farm
Prunklander fire forces the Arquebussiers de Grassin to retire from the farm.

In the end Andy was able to advance his right flank forces across the St Coutarde road.  Rob had only artillery and one regiment of Chevaulegers protecting that flank.  When the latter were routed by Chassepot fire, Andy was able to push a battalion of infantry onto the hill, take the siege battery and win the game.  The arrival of VFS infantry on the opposite flank was too late to influence the result.

The firefight at the farm continues whilst in the background
Lorraine forces approach the St Coutarde road. 

Accurate rifle fire by the Chasseurs de Monet routs the Prunkland Chevaulegers.
We all agreed it had been a fun game and it was nice to have more time to play at a leisurely pace.

The rules stood up well but I've since discovered a few things I got wrong.  The movement rates table on the playsheet is particularly obscure but I've come up with a better way of laying it out that I shall use in future games.

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