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.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Tabletop Teaser 12 - The Fighting Rearguard: A "Simplicity in Practice" AAR

"Fighting Rearguard" is a Charles Grant penned scenario published in Battlegames magazine issue 12 and the collection of Tabletop Teasers.

The basic idea of the scenario is for the Austrians to prevent the French from exiting any units off the Western side of the table.

French Forces:

6 Infantry battalions
2 Light infantry units
2 Cavalry regiments (1 of Dragoons, 1 of Hussars)
1 Artillery battery

Austrian Forces:

3 Infantry battalions
1 Light Infantry unit
1 Cavalry regiment (Dragoons)
1 Artillery battery

The rules used were Neil Thomas' "Simplicity in Practice" rules published in Battlegames 023.

I have made some amendments to the close combat procedure, as detailed in previous posts.  I also used Kaptain Kobold's Napoleonic amendments.  In addition I used each side's commander to give a bonus in close combat and to give a morale save (more later).

The Deployment

The battlefield.  The French columns are approaching from the East (right).  The Austrians are split between both banks too, with infantry, cavalry and artillery defending the southern bank, infantry and light infantry defending the northern.  A single infantry battalion remains in reserve.

View along the river from behind the Austrian reserve.

View along the river from behind the advancing French troops.
 The Battle
In accordance with their orders, the French troops advance to the line between the two hills and clear the first bridge.

The artillery begin to exchange fire, causing losses to each side by the counter-battery fire.

Austrian infantry defending the hill on the left flank exchange fire with supeior numbers of advancing French fusiliers and voltigeurs.  Austrian skirmishers on the far side of the stream are positioned to disrupt any flanking move

The battle begins in earnest: pressure mounts upon the Austian defenders of Olleyberg.  Note the Austrian Dragoons on the front-left hill have two disruption markers - they charged the French Dragoons but were repulsed with loss.

The superior French numbers tell and the Austrian defenders on the left bank are eliminated.

Same position, from behind the Austrian lines

A sanguinary exchange between the advancing French infantry and Austrian defenders resulted in the defeat of the first French infantry battalion and the wounding of the French commander!  Moreover, short range cannister blasts eliminated the French voltigeurs here too.  However, the French infantry following up have eliminated the leading Austrian battalion.

Austrian reserves and the tenacious light infantry cause some damage to the French infantry crossing the stream, attempting to outflank the Austrians.  Note th damage caused to the French infantry on the far-side of the stream, who came off worse in the first exchanges.

The wider position at this point in time.  Note the French reserves coming up on the Southern bank.

A smart bayonet charge by the Austrian infantry gains some time on the North bank

But the French infantry finally take the southern half of Olleyberg...

...and clear through the village.  However, the French cavalry has failed to dislodge the Austrian Dragoons and have been thrown back with loss in their turn

And a second charge throws back the French Hussars too!

Returning to the fray, the French Dragoons reverse the result!  The game is effectively over here, as the Austrians cannot stop the French now on this flank

The French converge on the northern bank of Olleyberg, still bravely held by the Austrian light infantrymen. 
Game Notes:
The game worked well, no problems.  I used the leader to give a saving roll for taking disruption points; 4-6 meaning that a unit accompanied by the commander ignores that DP.  However, if the unit accompanied by the leader takes a DP, then the leader has a 1-in-6 chance of becoming a casualty and causing a further DP loss to the unit.  As it happens, no chance occurred to try out the "forming square" Napoleonic variant.  It can't be emphasized enough that the simplicity of Neil Thomas' rules means that the player spends almost no time dealing with the "mechanics" of the game - everything is either tactical thinking or combat calculation. That said, there are a couple of elements I'd like to experiment with: an alternative to written orders and some kind of formation morale rules.
Figures by Baccus 6mm, buildings by Total Battle Miniatures and Leven Miniatures, game played on a 3'x2' board.

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