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 31 January 2022

Neil Thomas Horse & Musket Scenario 009: Double-Delaying Action

The next scenario in this series of refights of the scenarios published in Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames book is called a double-delaying action, based loosely on the Battle of Wavre from The Hundred Days / Waterloo campaign.  Although radically simplified, I think the scenario does have a genuine touch of Wavre about it, as the terrain and hopefully the game-play show.


As ever in this series, I am using Neil Thomas' Simplicity in Practice published in Battlegames 23 with some of my own small modifications (detailed on this blog).


The Forces:

The randomly generated forces for this battle came out as follows:

The Hanoverian Army:
5 units of Infantry
2 units of Artillery
2 units of Horse
The Franco-Jacobite Army:
5 units of Infantry
1 unit of Artillery
3 units of Dragoons

The scenario for this battle is a little more involved.  The Franco-Jacobites have 15 turns to take the town and exit at least three units off the top of the board.  The Hanoverians must withdraw 4 of their 9 units during the course of the game: one on Turn 4, one on Turn 8 and two on Turn 12.  Failure to do so results in instant defeat.  The battle is thus quite nicely balanced: the terrain largely favours the defender as does the initial force ratios, but the latter advantages evaporates and becomes a large disadvantage fairly rapidly.

The Set-Up:

The battlefield initially.  The British must cover two bridges, one near the wood (left) and one near the town (right); however, they must also deploy with the thought of withdrawing some of their troops when they can

A closer look at the British Right

And at the British Left

Another view of the British Right

And the reserves around the hill and the road

And a closer view of the town and its garrison

The Battle:

The Franco-Jacobites arrive.  A brigade of two infantry battalions and a dragoon regiment on the French Left.

Artillery and another dragoons under the general's watchful eye in the centre...

Whilst the remainder of the Franco-Jacobite infantry (from the left, Regiments Dillon, Berwick & Clare) and the remaining dragoon regiment (Right) approach the bridge and the town.

Musketry and artillery fire break out along the line as the Franco-Jacobites try to exploit some local superiority to try and cause some disruption by fire before launching an assault

On the left, some French Dragoons boldly rush the bridge on foot, but start taking serious casualties from the 17th Foot in the wood (left)

The 4th Foot (Seymour's Marines, centre) wheel to try and contain any exploitation on this flank

And casualties mount amongst the French dragoons

As do the casualties amongst the Irish infantry around the town; the battle has not started auspiciously for the Franco-Jacobites...

But they are very far from done yet!  Accurate musketry from the Dragoons combined with excellent support from the French artillery (bottom) quickly causes great losses amongst the 4th Foot

And the Irish infantry have got their range now: casualties begin to mount amongst Leven and Ferguson's regiments in the town

In a bold move, the British general brings back one of his Cavalry regiments (the Carabiniers) to charge the French Dragoons

The Dragoons are quickly routed, but this move means that the British general will have to pack off his infantry reserve instead

The position on the British Right is restored...temporarily; note that the 4th Foot (centre) is retiring, trying to get out of range of the French artillery fire

In a severe blow to the Hanoverian cause, the British general is felled by a musket ball in the fighting for the town!

Whilst the French general is hat-waving and sword-brandishing as best he can, to keep encouraging those Irish infantrymen to stay in the fight!

And his efforts seem to be paying off, as the volume and accuracy of the Irish fire intensifies and the Scotsmen defending the town suffer accordingly.

The 4th Foot has been devastated by artillery fire and is desperately seeking refuge from the guns

The 5th Foot must leave the battlefield to continue the planned withdrawal

A wider shot, showing the situation at the point the first British unit moved off: the Franco-Jacobites are still trying to make the town untenable by fire rather than assault on the Right; on the Left, the Royal Ecossais are leading another attack over the bridge

There is no let up for the Scottish infantry in the town, who are holding on grimly...

But the French Artillery has been ignoring the town, trying to make life impossible for the British Marines (seen withdrawing onto the hill in the distance)

Exposed to the cannonade for just a little too long, the 4th Foot breaks and runs (top, note empty hill)

Leven's Regiment is pretty much dead where its stands in the town = the remnants disperse!

Is the way open for the Irish infantry to carry the town at the point of the bayonet?

A wider shot of the Franco-Jacobite Right.

The Franco-Jacobites are very much relying on the ball rather than the bayonet today: Royal Ecossais advances to the very edge of the wood to exchange fire with the 17th Foot, but does not attack, preferring instead to try and tempt the 17th to charge, and to give space for Regiment du Roi to deploy to the right and develop the attack

The battle is proving costly amongst the senior commanders: the British general was a casualty earlier, as was his deputy Brigadier...and the French general joins them!  That may slow down the Franco-Jacobite advance a bit

The senior Colonel takes charge of the British, and the ragged band of Scots still just about holding on in the town!

He too is hit and the British are again left directionless!!!

The wider position: the senior French (okay, Irish) colonel steps forward and assumes command.

A wider shot of the whole field

The Irish infantry regiments are being pushed beyond the point of all endurance by the incessant fire...

Regiment Clare breaks

But Ferguson's Regiment cannot endure the fire either - and the remnants abandon the town.  Another colonel has fallen too!

A wider shot

The close range firefight around the woods continues, as the French infantry try and take the open area between woods and town

A wider shot: the French artillery has suffered quite heavily from counter-battery fire

Berwick's Regiment clears the town and takes it into Franco-Jacobite possession.

The remainder of the Franco-Jacobite army heads towards the bridge

With du Roi no longer in a position to support Royal Ecossais, the 17th Foot charge the latter

The Royal Ecossais were simply too weak after the musketry exchange to resists the 17th's bayonet charge

The French Left is in trouble, but will that matter now that the town has been taken?

The British now must send another unit to the rear - Macclesfield's Horse moves off

A wider shot: the British position is looking decidedly shaky, being practically devoid of infantry!!

Regiment Berwick is stuck in the town due to the accuracy and intensity of the British artillery fire; this does allow Dillon's Regiment to move up, however (right)

A wider shot

There is nothing to stop the now mounted French Dragoons from surging forwards!  Dillon's Regiment (top-right) is advancing towards some of the British artillery - the surviving ranking Colonel, who was commanding the artillery, is now leading the whole...

Du Roi (centre) is now in a firefight with the 17th in the woods

Both sides are taking huge losses - who will break first?

The Carabiniers unexpectedly charge again!  They are covering the 17ths retreat (left) since the British cannot afford to lose another unit

du Roi is seen off in handsome style!

However, the French Dragoons are about to leave the battlefield in pursuit of the main body - if Dillon's Regiment can break the British artillery, the Franco-Jacobites will have won...

A wider shot: the Franco-Jacobites are themselves holding on by a thread - if another unit were too break, the whole army would probably retire...

Berwick's regiment are slowly rallying in the town

Dillon's Regiment pass through the canister of the much reduced British artillery...

And capture the guns (and yet another senior British officer!!)

The position at the end of the battle; the Franco-Jacobites have pushed forward and won...just!

Game Notes:

A really close one this, but a really good one.  The scenario worked very well, even after converting to Simplicity in Practice from One Hour Wargames.
Rules-wise, there wasn't that much of interest in this game, since it was all working pretty well.  I need to update the rules to put in a note about movement inside towns, since the pivoting rule isn't that much help.  Interestingly, in certain circumstances, the rules encourage mutual firefights as sometimes the most optimal strategy for both sides, which can be unusual in some horse-and-musket rules, in which if one side is better of shooting, the other side must be better off using the bayonet.  More complicated than that of course, but still interesting.   I rolled some truly horrible dice on the rally rolls, hence the unusually large number of senior British officers dead, wounded or captured.  But nothing outside the bounds of possibility, I didn't think.  Waterloo itself had something of that nature.

Anyway, a few years back I did a 'full dress' Wavre, which you can compare and contrast here.  Obviously since it is me, full dress meant on a 4'x3' table or something, but you get the idea!

Figures by Baccus 6mm, buildings mainly by Levan and Timecast I think.