Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Monday, 6 December 2021

Hobby Update 6th December 2021

I haven't been able to game much recently, mostly because I have spent a lot of the time on the road recently.  I have managed to get some painting done however, which has been nice: the metal mountain and plastic pile were starting to get a bit higher than was comfortable.

There is a reduced company-worth of Baccus 6mm WW2 British Paratroopers:

They are nice figures, and just big enough to at least hint towards a Denison smock!  The only real problem with the figures is that the ankles on the last figure on each strip seemed quite fragile and I had a few breakages.

The other recent project was finishing two small WSS armies, again from Baccus 6mm, one British and the other Franco-Spanish.  French & British (dismounted) Dragoons:

and then the rest.  British first:

The Foot:
The Guns:
The Horse:

The Franco-Spanish:

The Foot, Spanish in the foreground, the French behind them.  Many of the Foot regiments are Irish/Jacobite in the pay of the Bourbons.
A closer shot of the French:
The Guns (and Generals):
The Horse (these are all French):

Apart from that, there are some 1/300 plastic WW2 aircraft, 6mm dismounted French Dragoons, 6mm Vanguard SF, 28mm Gripping Beast Dark Age warriors and some Stargrave crew in various states of preparation, to be done over the coming weeks.  Game-wise, my main activity has been more air wargames using my version of the Portable Air Wargame rules with the maps and counters from Achtung spitfire!  More on that in a later post.

Sunday, 5 December 2021

A Simple Neil Thomas Horse & Musket Game

Inspired by the recent battles on the Wargaming Addict blog, and having a little time and space in hand, I decided to have a go at the first scenario from Neil Thomas' classic One Hour Wargames (OHW) book.


It really is a masterwork of scenarios stripped down to their barest.  The first scenario, a straight-up pitched battle, is loosely based on the Battle of Ceresole but has much wider applications.  Although the rules in OHW are pretty good, I much prefer his Simplicity in Practice (SiP) rules, published back in Battlegames 23.


Having recently painted up some basic WSS armies, I set this scenario as part of a French-backed Jacobite rebellion 'somewhere in Ireland'.

The OHW book has a force generator, which resulted in the following:

British Army: 
3 Infantry units,  1 Light Infantry unit, 2 Cavalry units.
French Army:
3 Infantry units, 1 Artillery unit, 2 Light Infantry units.

However, 'light infantry' units don't really suit these armies for the WSS, so I made these Dragoons instead.  Dragoons are catered for in SiP, but I made one slight change - Dragoons could operate as light infantry instead, but took a turn to convert between roles.  The advantage of that is that light infantry are the only troop type in the rules that can move and fire (or fire and move). 

The actual orders of battle therefore were:

British Army: 
3 Infantry units,  1 Dragoon unit, 2 Cavalry units.
French Army:
3 Infantry units, 1 Artillery unit, 2 Dragoon units.

The Set-Up:

A very straightforward battlefield, with both armies' positions being based on a hill facing each other across a flat terrain.

The British set-up: Horse (left) on the Right Flank, Foot in the Centre, the Dragoons (top-right) on the Left.

The French have their Foot and Artillery on the hill, with some Dragoons supporting.  The French Right (top-left) is composed of infantry, whilst the remaining Dragoons (right) are on the Left.

A closer view of the French troops on the hill.

The Battle:

The British Dragoons approach the French Right, but the disciplined musketry of the French starts bringing down some of the riders.

A wider view of the early stages of the battle: the British, lacking any artillery, have been forced to attack, with the Horse (left) and Dragoons (right) pressing forward to try and press the French flanks before the infantry assault.

The British Horse drive back the French Dragoons with heavy losses (right); the remaining French Dragoons (top-centre) have dismounted on the edge of the hill to prevent the French central position from being turned.

A wider view: note that the British Dragoons have pulled back (top-left) in the face of French infantry fire.  The British Foot (centre) is coming to grips with the French centre, facing the unenviable task of attacking support guns uphill.

And sure enough, as the sound of French musketry rings out across the battlefield, the British infantry and cavalry all start taking significant casualties.

'French' infantry (actually an Irish/English Catholic regiment) face off with their artillery against the British Foot in a musketry duel

However, the dismounted French Dragoons on the Left (right) have been charged again and put to the sword!

Their fellow dragoons on the hill are causing serious losses to the supporting British Horse (bottom-left), however, driving off an attempted charge in some style.

British musketry starts to tell on the hill's defenders (right); however, the withdrawal of the British Dragoons has emboldened the Franco-Jacobite commander to advance his right-hand infantry regiment to threaten the British Right (top)

The French musketry proves the more effective however and the British losses mount across the line

The remaining French Dragoons very boldly move forward to see of the British Horse with the accuracy of their musketry!

Sensing the moment had come, the Franco-Jacobite commander orders a bayonet charge in the centre!

The suffering redcoats are killed, captured or driven off in the devastating attack!

There is now a large gap between the remnants of the British Right (bottom-right) and its reserves and Left (top left-centre)

However, the British are far from finished yet, and another successful cavalry charge has thrown back the remaining French Dragoons (centre)

The battle has become very disjointed, with the British in entirely different corners of the battlefield; in the centre a Scottish bayonet charge surprisingly failed (centre) and things are now looking grim for the British...

The British cavalry charge the disordered French Dragoons...and see them off in short order.

However, the French infantry charge the disordered Scots who run for the rear!

The remaining British Dragoons try to stop the French advance with dismounted musketry, but it is a very long shot...

Risking all, the British cavalry attempt to sweep the French from the hill; unfortunately they have already suffered quite severe losses and the odds are not that favourable...

However, they capture or dismount half the guns, the survivors falling back off the hill (right)

A wider shot

French musketry continues to prove superior to that of its British opponents...

And the few remaining British Horse prepare for another, and very desperate charge.

Charge they do...

But the Franco-Jacobite infantry (Royal-Ecossais) holds firm and drives the Britsh Horse off!

The British Army has been entirely dispersed and victory is in the hands of the Franco-Jacobites!

Game Notes: A very enjoyable game, it was great to get some toys on the table again, and in this case, some new toys too.  The scenario delivered and so did the rules - mainly.  I really like the structure and simplicity of the rules, I like the firing and movement rules - but I forgot how much I think that the calibration of the melee system, as opposed to the system itself, is very, very wonky.  But that aside, it did work well. Anyway, after I have looked up my amendments from last time I played with these rules, I am really looking forward to getting onto the next scenario!  Some changes at home have left me more hopeful that doing this kind of small game should be possible quite regularly.

Figures are from the Baccus 6mm WSS range.