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 14 February 2022

Neil Thomas Horse & Musket Scenario 010b

Having inadvertently inverted this scenario the first time I played it, but having a great game nonetheless, I decided to play this scenario again the way the designer intended!  Once again, the rules used were Neil Thomas' Simplicity in Practice horse & musket set, with minor modifications.  This time the defenders are still trying to stop the advance of the attackers as piecemeal reinforcements arrive but the attackers must take the town and exit from its road instead.

The Forces:

The Hanoverian Army:
5 Infantry units
2 Artillery units
2 Cavalry units

The Franco-Jacobite Army:
6 Infantry units
1 Artillery unit
2 Cavalry units

I won't re-iterate the scenario details at length, since they remain the same as the first time I did the scenario, but essentially the Hanoverians have 15 turns to capture the town and exit the board; the the Franco-Jacobites start with 3 units on the battlefield, and are reinforced by 3 further units on turns 5 and 10.

The Set-Up:

An Irish infantry regiment (Clare's) and a French artillery battery defend the pass, whilst another Irish infantry regiment defends the wood (bottom-left)

A closer look at Berwick's Regiment, holding the edge of the woods to threaten the left flank of the Hanoverian advance

The Battle:

The British advance begins and the lead regiment (Seymour's Marines) are met with an absolute hail of fire, causing very severe casualties; Pearce's Regiment (top-right) attempts to deploy to threaten the wood and take some of the pressure off.

Seymour's Regiment is practically annihilated by the fire and the survivors disperse

Fergusson's Regiment advances to take its place, but it too starts taking heavy casualties: however, the British Foot are now in a position to attack the wood; strong British counter-battery fire is starting to take a toll on the French gunners by the mountain (left)

Fergusson's Regiment suffers heavy casualties too (centre, on the road), but at least the Irish infantry is beginning to suffer a little bit too

Fergusson's Regiment is withdrawn into the lee of the mountain to rally (top), whilst the 17th Foot advances to close quarters (centre-left); Leven's Regiment moves to the flank of Berwick's Regiment (right), whilst it is exchanging fire from the wood with other British infantry.  The British have also brought up the Carabiniers (centre) to try and force the gap between the two Irish infantry regiments.

Franco-Jacobite reinforcements march as fast to the relief of their comrades as the stately pace of early C18 warfare will allow...Royal Ecossais leads du Roi and Dillon's Regiment forward.

At last the British seem to be getting somewhere: Berwick's Regiment is under heavy pressure in the woods (right) whilst Horse, Foot and Guns are all being brought to bear on the Franco-Jacobite blocking force on the road (centre).

A wider view of the situation: the battle has run a third of its course at this point.

The combined fire of the 5th (left) and Leven's Regiment finally sees off Berwick's Regiment in the woods.

Clare's Regiment and the supporting French artillery in the centre are still giving rather better than they have got however, and British casualties mount again.

However, the British general orders the Carabiniers to charge...

...causing Clare's regiment to retire...

...and then rout and disperse!

The Franco-Jacobite reinforcements deploy to the left and right of the road, attempting to form a new line: the French artillery has prudently withdrawn to join them.

Another view of the same.

The new Franco-Jacobite line is formed, more or less; the British are beginning to shake themselves out into a formation suitable for their next attack

Sensing that the vulnerable point is the Franco-Jacobite right, Leven's Regiment and the Carabiniers move towards Dillon's Regiment (Right)

Royal Ecossais (centre of Franco-Jacobite line) has turned slightly to bring extra muskets to bear on Leven's Regiment, so 17th Foot advances down the road to increase the pressure.  Note the lanes left clear to allow the British artillery to continue firing

More Franco-Jacobite troops arrive: the Normandie infantry regiment in the rear, preceded by Horse regiments Cosse and Royal Allemands.  The battle is now two-thirds of the way through...

Musketry rattles along the infantry lines, with casualties about even in this exchange

Then the Carabiniers charge home successfully against Dillon's regiment, which is pushed back to the edge of the town (right)

Determined to regain the initiative, the Franco-Jacobite commander orders Royal Ecossais to charge: they do so, their gleaming bayonets and ferocious aspect proving too much for 17th Foot...

Which breaks and routs!

But the pressure is intense on the Franco-Jacobite right: the Carabiniers have charged again at the disordered Dillon's Regiment (right), whilst the French cavalry are not really the right troops to hold off Leven's relatively fresh infantry (left)

Dillon's Regiment surrenders, and the Franco-Jacobite general is taken!

A slightly wider shot

A slightly wider shot - the Carabiniers (right) have been driven back with loss by Royal Allemands (bottom-right) but the British have managed to get the rest of their Foot back into action (centre); note that Fergusson's Regiment has been fully rallied (the further back of the two Scottish regiments)

The Royal Ecossais in the centre have succumbed to overwhelming infantry and artillery fire

Then Cosse falls to infantry fire too!  The Franco-Jacobites are suffering horrendous problems in their command chain, as no-one seems aware that the general has been captured. 

Lumley's Horse charges into the left of the Franco-Jacobite line: only Du Roi and Normandie remain in action

But some accurate shooting and steely determination sees the British Horse off!

However, outnumbered and outfought, the cry of sauve qui peut rings out along the French ranks...

But, astonishingly, they have held off the Hanoverians for long enough to also claim the victory!!!

Game Notes:

There was an interesting comment on the previous scenario (from Steve) that one of the best ways to win as the defender was to simply occupy the town, which given the timelines involved would be very difficult for the attacker to take in time.  Thinking about it, I don't think this would work in  my version of the rules and scenario, since the attackers could win by ignoring the town and defeating the rest of the army, because my modifications bring in army morale rules.  The other change - having more units in play - exacerbates the problem because more of the defender's force would be outside the town, proportionally; and keeping units out of the fight in Neil Thomas' rules is always problematic, because ideally you want as many units contributing to the fight as possible (which is reasonably standard for rules which are quite attrition-based). But if you didn't have them, then it probably would be the better strategy.  I only bring this up because it shows how even rules modifications which have on the face of it nothing to do with the scenario itself can have huge effects on optimal strategies.  This actually inspires some further thoughts on 'realism' in rules, but I will save those for another time.
In any case, lots of fun and a real nail-bighter this one: the Franco-Jacobites were quite badly affected by the loss of their general near the end, which meant that more or less every unit simply had to fight it out where it stood!  Luckily, the British were not quite in a position to get into the town in time despite breaking the Franco-Jacobites: one more turn would have done it! So incredibly close, but honours to the Franco-Jacobites in this one...
Figures by Baccus 6mm, buildings by Leven and Timecast.


  1. That was an exciting battle! Re stuffing the town with units, I generally borrow the restriction in one of NTs sets that only one unit can 'occupy' a town, otherwise you get some really silly stuff. I had one rather competitive player stick four units one behind another in a town in a OHW game and claim they could all magically fight at full effect because the rules didn't say they couldn't.

    1. Yes, that is usually the best solution. I will normally 'rate' the town to allow a certain number of bases, usually 1 but occasionally two or more. This was a 1-base town.