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 3 January 2022

Neil Thomas Horse & Musket Scenario 5: Bridgehead

The fifth scenario in Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames book is entitled 'Bridgehead' - a small force of one army must hold on to a position whilst their enemies hurriedly rush forward to crush it before the bridgehead can be reinforced and expanded.


The forces generated for each side were as follows:

The Hanoverian Army:
6 Infantry units
1 Artillery units
2 Horse units

The Franco-Jacobite Army:
6 Infantry units
1 Dragoon unit
2 Horse units

The game begins with a small Franco-Jacobite force of 2 units having seized the bridge.  Both sides are then reinforced at intervals, the Franco-Jacobites coming up the road, the Hanoverians have equal chances of arriving from the left, top and right of the table.

I again used a slightly modified version of Neil Thomas' Simplicity in Practice rules rather than the rules in One Hour Wargames itself.

The Set-Up:

The empty terrain: The Franco-Jacobites are approaching from the Right.

Another view, with the Franco-Jacobites approaching from the Bottom

The vanguard of the Franco-Jacobite force which seized the bridge consists of one infantry and one Dragoon unit (at the edge of the woods)

And from another angle

The Battle:

The Hanoverian Vanguard arrives: two infantry units and their artillery

The Franco-Jacobite commander has moved up his Horse first (bottom, both sides of the bridge) in order to try and achieve numerical superiority early on; the infantry and artillery have begun to exchange (ineffectual) fire

More British reinforcements arrive (Right); the Franco-Jacobite Horse attempts to hold off their advance (centre)

Another view

The leading British Foot battalion has become disordered in the musketry exchange and a French Horse regiment charges, trying to take advantage.  The Irish infantry has also suffered in the musketry exchange (bottom) but the Hanoverians had no Horse handy to exploit it...

The British infantry is routed, and only a rump reform (top)

The wider position at this point: note that the other Franco-Jacobite Horse has had to withdraw (centre-bottom) in order to avoid annihilation from the superior Hanoverian forces to the Right.

More British troops arrive behind the wood (left)

A wider shot

Meanwhile, the Hanoverian troops on the opposite flank have advanced and are now squeezing the bridgehead quite tightly: the Royal Ecossais foot regiment (bottom) are trying to support the bridgehead with musketry from the far bank

Lacking room to deploy, the French infantry coming up deploys to add more supporting musketry fire also

A second cavalry charge sweeps away the remnants of the leading British Foot battalion and captures the Hanoverian general!!

The Hanoverian force is now split in two, which should reduce co-ordination

Unaware of this serious setback however, the British Left flank (right) executes its charge on the bridgehead

A wider shot - note that the British Horse on the right has prudently withdrawn out of musketry range from the opposite bank of the river

The leading Jacobite battalion runs from the British bayonets (centre) - but run to where with more British Horse approaching (left)?

With nowhere to escape to, it surrenders; however, the Franco-Jacobite Horse tries to relieve the situation by charging back down the road into the flank of the advancing British Foot (centre); also note that the senior British Colonel has stepped up to lead the remaining Hanoverian troops (top-right)

A wider shot

Despite its great tactical position, the Franco-Jacobite Horse's charge fails, as freshness and numbers beat (on this occasion) much better location! Cut off from the rest of the Franco-Jacobite army, exhausted and with heavy losses, the horsemen surrender.

A wider shot: the Franco-Jacobite position looks pretty untenable now

A combined Horse and Foot assault by the Hanoverians against the leading Franco-Jacobite troops

The Franco-Jacobite Horse have pretty much no chance, take heavy losses...

and are killed, fled or captured, leaving the infantry in an awful position

Despite their isolation, the French Dragoons are skillfully holding off superior numbers of British Foot in the woods

Outshot and outmanoeuvred, the Franco-Jacobite Foot are suffering heavy casualties

And the survivors are forced to surrender!

The Dragoons in the woods are finally overwhelmed when the Scottish Foot manage to get in amongst them with the bayonet

With their commander a prisoner and all of their Horse overwhelmed, the Franco-Jacobite army is defeated and must retire

The position at the end of the battle, after the last Franco-Jacobite regiment has retired back over the bridge

Another shot

Game Notes:

Another good fun game: although it ended up being a fairly convincing Hanoverian victory, there were moments when the Franco-Jacobite army looked like it might pull off a victory.  The account did not emphasize it, but the leading Irish regiment did really well (or the British Foot and Guns, really poorly!), winning its firefights and keeping the British centre at bay.  Added to the successful cavalry charge, the British were in a bit of trouble.  But although they didn't show much skill in the actual fighting, the Hanoverian reinforcements kept turning up in good positions, particularly the second group, which arrived on the Franco-Jacobite right flank: without any infantry in a position to hold the ground, the Franco-Jacobite Horse was always going to struggle to prevent a serious attack developing.  Supporting fire from across the river helped a little, but the distance was great enough that most of the decisive attack could go in unimpeded.
There was one minor rules issue, that I need to decide upon: the constitution of a flank attack.  Should a flank attack require that any part of the attacking base contacts the flank edge of the defender, or should it be the centre of the attacking base?  I am not sure which to go for, I can think of equal justification for either and there is no particular reason in the rules to go for one or the other, except insofar as not mentioning it might suggest the first, more liberal interpretation?  I am not even sure which I prefer...One of the very good things about WRG/DBx rules is that they don't leave this kind of stuff to interpretation, generally.

Anyway, another good game, I have been really enjoying using these scenarios and rules to get back into regular playing after a few disjointed months!  Figures by Baccus 6mm on a 2'x2' board. I think the bridge may be from the Baccus range also.

After a comment on The Miniatures Page, someone noted that there is a play-through of this particular scenario on YouTube, which may be of interest:


  1. War of Spanish Succession
    I was having a look at the adaption of the Simplicity in Practice rules for this period.... and they work quite well.....
    I especially like the adjustment for platoon fire vs fire by rotation.
    However there are no changes to accommodate the French cavalry use of firepower.
    I decided to allow them to fire once only in the game when charging or being charged .... just before contact.
    Any comments?

    1. I expect you would know better than I. But since SiP does let mounted troops fire (Dragoons hitting on 4-6, Light Cavalry on 5-6), I might be inclined to allow French cavalry to shoot as light cavalry.

  2. For flank attacks in OHW I usually rule that the attacker has to start the move behind the flank already. I think that might even be in one of NTs other rule sets. It prevents the wargaming phenomenon of players performing micro geometry to get one part of the base in contact with a front corner and then claiming it magically becomes a devastating flank attack.

    1. Yes, I think that works as the best general rule. I had a worry in one instance where there was a corner to flank edge contact in the last game which sort of looked wrong, although the attacking base did start well behind the front edge of the defending base. But perhaps I am over-thinking it.

  3. Another nice action there and one that I played last year (I think!). They do make for relatively easy set-up games, with the odd tweak here and there. Keep up the good work!