Not yet possessing any armies for the War of the Spanish Succession, I decided to re-theme it for the Napoleonic Wars, moving events 100 years to the future and imagining that Britain had sent a force to co-operate with the Austrians in Central Europe (not so unlikely, really).
Anyway,I found this image which shows the environs and set-up quite well:
I converted the forces given in the scenario to the following for the Polemos General de Division rules:
C-in-C: Sir John Moore
The Advance Guard: Prince Louis of Hohenloe-Waldenberg-Bartenstein (Capable)
1st Brigade: 4 bases of Austrian Grenadiers Veteran SK1
2nd Brigade: 4 bases of Austrian Grenadiers Veteran SK1
3rd Brigade: 3 bases of British Guards Trained/Elite SK1, 1 base of Light Infantry Trained/Elite SK2
4th Brigade: 3 bases of British Light Cavalry, Trained
5th Brigade: 3 bades of Austrian Light Cavalry, Trained
The Main Body: Gen Baird (Capable)
1st Brigade: 2 bases of British Infantry Trained SK1, 1 base of British Infantry Trained SK2
2nd Brigade: 3 bases of British Infantry Trained SK1
3rd Brigade: 3 bases of Austrian Infantry Trained SK1
4th Brigade: 3 bases of Austrian Infantry Trained SK1
The Cavalry: Prince of Lambesc (Capable)
1st Brigade: 4 bases British Dragoons, Trained Heavy Cavalry
2nd Brigade: 3 bases Austrian Cuirassiers, Trained
3rd Brigade: 3 bases British Light Cavalry, Trained
3 bases of Austrian 12lb artillery
C-in-C Gen Duhesme (Plodding)
1st Brigade:1 base of French Lt Inf, Trained SK2; 4 bases of French Inf, Trained SK1
2nd Brigade: 1 base of French Lt Inf, Trained SK2; 4 bases of French Inf, Trained SK1
1st Brigade: 5 bases of Bavarian Infantry or German Infantry, all Trained SK1; 1 base of Bavarian Dragoons, Trained
1st Brigade: 1 base of Bavarian Lt Inf, Trained SK2, 3 bases of Bavarian Infantry Trained SK1
2nd Brigade: 1 base of French Grenadiers, Veteran SK1, 3 bases of Bavarian Infantry Trained SK1
Cavalry & Artillery Reserve (under C-in-C command)
1 base of French Dragoons, Trained
3 bases of French or Bavarian Artillery, 4lb Foot
|Austrian Grenadiers (right) and British Hussars (left) look up at the Schellenberg heights|
|With a bit more perspective|
|The Franco-Bavarian positions, with plentiful reserves behind|
|The Allied Advance Guard about to, well, advance!|
|A wider shot of the battlefield, from behind and above the Franco-Bavarian position on the Schellenberg|
|The same. In reality, Donauwoerth would be on the other side of the stream to the left, but I ommitted it for clarity since a town assault wasn't going to be part of the game.|
|Looking down from the Schellenberg towards the Allied positions|
|And a final look at the Franco-Bavarian position on the heights; the main position (just right of the road is held by French Grenadiers and Bavarian Light Infantry)|
|The Allied Advance Guard advances in solid formation - they are just starting to get hit by Franco-Bavarian artillery fire; note that Allied artillery fire has knocked back the Bavarian light infantrymen from the defensive position (bottom-centre)|
|The first assault: Austrian Grenadiers (left as viewed) and British Light infantrymen and Guardsmen assault the position|
|And from the reverse angle|
|The British 52nd is broken by Bavarian musketry and routs; the remain Allied infantry are forced down the hill by the intensity of the fire. The Bavarian defenders are a little shaken, but have held on very well|
|The Allies reform ready to begin another advance; one of the British light cavalry brigades adopts a position in the dead ground to avoid Bavarian artillery fire (top-left)|
|Another shot of the re-formed Advance Guard. The Allies then tried long-range musketry to cause some damage to the Franco-Bavarians and/or provoke a charge out of the defences (which happened in the real battle). But no joy!|
|The second assault begins|
|A few turns have passed and the Allied main body has joined the assault. The British Guard Bn has maintained its position on the edge of the defences, but elsewhere the Franco-Bavarians have maintained their successful resistance|
|The Allied commander prepares an assault on the lower slopes (see left of shot); British infantry and cavalry move up|
|German infantry again break up an attack by British light infantry but another British Bn does break through, capturing the Bavarian artillery and puching back its infantry support|
|The British then renew the attack and the lower defences are entirely in their hands! The French rush reinforcements to plug the gaps.|
|The Franco-Bavarians are in serious trouble now! Their entire left is caving in and brigades are starting to break under the pressure of the Allied onslaught...|
|And rout! (bottom left)|
The result seems to have been very similar to historical events, where Allied assualts on the heights failed but the secondary attack on the lower slopes succeeded, turned the Franco-Bavarian left which led to the panic and rout of the army. Casualties were not too uneven - the Allies suffered many losses in the initial assualts - but the cavcalry pursuit would be expected to tear the Franco-Bavarian army to shreds.
A very interesting game, helped by the rules but mainly helped by an excellent scenario - highly recommended. Although set in the War of the Spanish Succession, I think with a little adaptation it would serve well from 1600 - 1900. Although there are a reasonable number of troops, the actual battlefield was quite small (I only used 100cm x 90 cm and I could probably have shaved a little from that). It wil give your rules a real work-out in seeing the effect of hills and defences on infantry attacks, artillery fire and cavalry.
I like and enjoy the Polemos rules and I think the mechanics are generally excellent. However, for me, this game highlighted two areas that I begin to see as a little problematic. Firstly, I think that the calibration of tactical effects is a little extreme; and secondly I think that there is too extreme a variation between troop types.
Bear in mind that the essential method of combat resolution is an opposed D6 roll, modified for tactical factors and troop skill.
Troops uphill in infantry combat get a +2. Troops moving up a steep hill are shaken = a -2 modifier. This adds up to a 4-point swing from attacker to defender. In defensive positions, the defender is getting another +2. This is also the swing from "Raw" troops to "Veteran" troops, and from troops with skirmishers "SK0" to light infantry "SK2". Because there is no attrition as such in the game, then there is no cumulative effect from long-term artillery bombardment; thus attacks have to be prepared to maximize combat factors. These big swings can create lots of almost "sure thing" fights.
So where am I going with all this?
I am thinking of changing the uphill modifier to +1 for slopes, +2 for steep slopes and remove the automatically shaken penalty.
I am thinking of changing the troop quality modifiers to +1 for Veteran and introduce a "Second-Line" class with a -1 modifier rather than -2 for Raw, which rating I am going to reserve for the very worst troops.
I am thinking of adding a +1 modifier to artillery bombardment for each consecutive round fired at the same target after the first.
I am thinking of introducing long-range skirmisher fire at 2BWs. It will count as long-range fire, but both sides can use their SK rating as a modifier.
I have already adopted the Glenn Pearce idea of in normal circumstances just using two SK ratings rather than three - in my case, essentially SK1 for light infantry, SK0 for everyone else.
However, although the modifiers seem too large in may cases...the rules did actually generate a near historical result! So what to do? The implication of the modifiers in these rules is that only elite or veteran troops (or well-trained light infantry) have a hope of taking these kind of positions, which seems extreme. Artillery is generally ineffective at causing enough damage to change the odds. I think I am most inclined to remove the "shaken" part of the steep hill effect as probably the most extreme effect. But I would be very interested to hear any views on any of this!!
Figures as ever from the Baccus 6mm Napoleonic range. One day I will get myself from WSS armies and set it in the right period, too!